Boy, shaken as baby, dies in his sleep
By Karen Brainard
A 6-year-old special needs child who lived in the 1000 block of Olive St. died in his sleep early Tuesday morning from complications as a victim of child abuse, according to an adoptive family member.
The boy, identified as Sam, was one of four special needs children adopted by Chris Dahlke, said Dahlke’s daughter, Barbara Smith.
“He was a shaken baby and he had severe trauma from that initial injury,” said Smith.
Those injuries caused him to be blind, non-communicative and have heart problems, she said. The boy was hooked to monitors, she added.
Paramedics from the Ramona Fire Department were unable to perform any life-saving measures, said Smith.
After detectives from the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department were called about 12:28 a.m, they learned that the child had been the victim of child abuse in the city of San Diego approximately six years ago, reported sheriff’s Lt. Larry Nesbit of homicide detail.
Smith said Sam had been shaken by his biological father when he was 2 months old and the father may face homicide charges.
The sheriff’s department has not released any information about the biological father or possible homicide charges.
Smith said her mother specializes in care for shaken babies and has extensive training. The other adopted children are school-age, she said.
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