Police: Video shows mom repeatedly choking 15-month-old son at hospital

An Indianapolis mother faces more than a dozen felony charges after investigators say video showed her repeatedly choking her 15-month-old son.

Dashana Oldham

Dashana Oldham (October 5, 2012)

Indianapolis

An Indianapolis mother faces more than a dozen felony charges after investigators say video showed her repeatedly choking her 15-month-old son at a hospital.

Police arrested Dashana Oldham, 20, on preliminary charges of neglect and battery after a doctor at St. Vincent reported seeing Oldham choke her son on video.

The woman brought her son to St. Vincent on Sept. 27 after he experienced what she called an “episode” in which he went unresponsive for four to six minutes. Doctors couldn’t figure out what caused the problem, so they used a Video EEG to monitor his brain activity and keep watch on him.

During observation of the tests, a doctor noticed that the boy’s oxygen levels dropped on multiple occasions, according to the probable cause affidavit. The doctor reviewed the video, only to find that Oldham choked her son multiple times, causing the drops in oxygen level.

When a police officer reviewed the tape, he saw several instances in which Oldham attempted to choke the 15 month old, court documents said. In one instance, the officer said Oldham “placed her hand on (the child’s) throat and applied pressure.” The boy responded by coughing, kicking, crying and gasping for breath.

A few minutes later, the officer said Oldham did it again, applying pressure to the boy’s throat with her right hand. She increased the pressure, court documents said, and the boy “became silent and appeared unable to breathe at all.” Several second later, the child began “coughing and gasping for breath.”

The probable cause affidavit said Oldham pressed the call button to summon a nurse shortly after her son calmed down.

According to court documents, the woman used a blanket in an effort to hide what she was doing.

The child was removed from his mother, police said.

Investigators said Oldham told them her son had been having “breath holding spells” since late June. Despite extensive tests, doctors couldn’t figure out the problem. Oldham originally denied choking the boy.

She later admitted she was upset at doctors for being unable to diagnose his condition and applied pressure to his throat to replicate the problem, court documents said.

According to court documents, Oldham said she was not trying to kill her son. If she wanted to kill him, she said, she “would have put more pressure on his throat,” she told police. She claimed the only times she choked her son were at St. Vincent and denied ever doing it before.

A doctor at St. Vincent told investigators that the boy was in “serious” and “immediate” danger of dying during the choking episodes.

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