Another mother speaks about Bragg baby deaths

September 14, 2010 9:00:00 PM PDT
The mother of one of the 10 infants whose deaths are being investigated by Fort Bragg is speaking out.

Pearline Sculley tells ABC11 Eyewitness News that Fort Bragg never told her that her son's death was part of a larger investigation.

Fort Bragg Officials are adamant that her son died at an off-post daycare so they had Fayetteville Police investigate. But Sculley says she believes something in her home on post may have led to his death, since two other babies have died in the same house.

The family had been living at a house on Groesbeek Drive, the same house where two other babies died in 2009.

"When I started asking a lot of questions, I do feel like they tried to cover something up," she said.

Sculley says she feels the military tried to cover up her son's death in 2007 and again in 2010 since, she says, Fort Bragg’s Criminal Investigation Command and Army Criminal Investigation Command out of Washington, never informed her that they’re reviewing his death as part of the ongoing investigation into the mysterious infant deaths over the last four years.

The morning Jaden passed away, his mother had picked up the 2-month-old from an overnight daycare, where he stayed while she worked third shift at Wal-Mart while her husband was deployed to Afghanistan.

"I got there and Jaden was in his car seat, appeared to be sleeping with little a smile on his face."

But when she got home and the babysitter took him out of the car seat and he threw up blood.

"She had a blood spot that was this big on her shirt," Sculley said. "Then I took Jaden from her and tried to wake him up and he wouldn't wake up."

Sculley rushed Jaden to Womack Army Medical Center, the hospital on post where she says doctors performed CPR for nearly a half hour and declared him dead.

Medical records show he had no heartbeat and was dead on arrival. They say they suspect he had been dead for two hours, which means he would've died off post and not in the house.

Something the Army pointed out in a recent news conference.

"It did not occur at that address, bottom line, there were two deaths at that same address, period," Fort Bragg Garrison Commander COL Stephen Sicinski said.

Jaden's autopsy shows he died of SIDS. Sculley says the last month of his life, Jaden had severe congestion and a cough, similar symptoms to what the other parents had described before their babies died.

Just last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission removed pieces of drywall from the home. They're the lead federal agency investigating toxic Chinese drywall.

No one is living in the house, while the Army and other agencies investigate a possible environmental link. And Sculley says no one should ever live there again.

"There is something definitely there, because it is claiming the lives of those kids," she said. "They should not move another family into it, they need to tear the house down."

Fort Bragg has said it has ruled out Chinese drywall, but a spokesperson for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigations Command out of Washington, D.C., says they haven’t ruled anything out and are still waiting on test results from the CPSC and other agencies.

Army CID says it didn't alert the parents of all the babies whose deaths are being reviewed, because they are waiting on those results and they're still trying to determine if there is a link. They also didn't want to cause any further stress or grief in the meantime.

In the meantime on Thursday afternoon, Fort Bragg commanders and a spokesperson from the U.S. Army CID will be holding a town hall meeting to address concerns about the deaths. The meeting will be held at 4 p.m. at the Gordon Elementary School on post.

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