By Daniel Silliman
Five-week-old Joshua Moore could not have accidentally inhaled the baby wipes found wadded deep in his throat when he died, medical experts told detectives.
The boy's mother, 24-year-old Quantavia Nicole Moore, said it was an accident. She said she was cleaning the baby's mouth while staying at her mother's house in Forest Park, and then Joshua inhaled and started choking and she went "bazooka."
The baby wipes were folded up into a large, square wad, when recovered from Joshua's throat, and his lungs weren't strong enough to inhale that wet wad, Dr. Joran Greenbaum, at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston, wrote to Detective Kelvin Jackson.
"I do not believe the incident [occurred accidentally], as described," the doctor wrote, "but required externally applied forces to lodge the relatively large object in the small, relatively depressed airway."
Joshua, also known as Jehoshua, died on Dec. 21, 2006, after spending three weeks in intensive care after he choked on baby wipes, and his mother allegedly attempted to clear his airway with a straightened coat hanger.
During an autopsy, a Georgia Bureau of Investigation medical examiner found the throat and esophagus severely scarred, probably by the coat hanger.
Moore told detectives that Joshua was gagging and pulling away from her, while she tried to clean his mouth and when she tried to hook the baby wipes with the hanger. She said she stopped when the baby started bleeding, and brought him to a nurse who lived nearby.
A year after her baby boy's death, a Clayton County grand jury has indicted Quantavia Moore on charges of felony murder, manslaughter, aggravated assault, reckless conduct and cruelty to children. The charge of felony murder indicates police and prosecutors do not believe Moore intentionally killed Joshua, but that she committed felonies, and in committing felonies, killed her son.
Police said they originally intended to charge Quantavia Moore with reckless conduct, but after the autopsy and after interviewing medical experts, decided the baby's death ought to be considered a homicide.
There's "no evidence of cruelty," said Lloyd Matthew, Moore's attorney, during a probable cause hearing early this year. He said there is no evidence the young mother did anything besides make a bad decision.
During a hearing, in January 2007, Magistrate Court Judge Richard Brown found the fact that Moore didn't call 911 was damning evidence. An ambulance wasn't called until Moore brought the baby to a nurse, who lived near her mother's home, and the nurse's husband called 911.
Jackson estimated the child might have been choking for 10 minutes before 911 was called. When medius arrived, Joshua Moore was bleeding and he didn't have a heartbeat. medius, the detective, said, "removed the baby wipes without the use of tools."
Moore faces a possible sentence of life in prison. Her next court date has not yet been set.