Police: Teen mom stuffed cotton down her child’s throat

MUSC Children's Hospital

Brad Nettles

The medical history describes a dangerous situation for an infant: a baby that repeatedly suffers bouts of choking and mysterious life-threatening episodes.

A 17-year-old mother is charged with intentionally stuffing a cotton ball-sized object down her child's throat.

The Summerville woman is free on a $10,000 personal recognizance bond and her daughter is being housed in emergency protective custody after the teen was charged with intentionally trying to choke the child by pushing part of a stuffed animal toy into the infant's airway.

Chevonne Deandra Younginer's next court appearance on a single charge of unlawful neglect is set for April. Jail records also list her first name as Cheyenne. It was not immediately clear if she has an attorney.

The incident occurred Friday at the Medical University of South Carolina's Children's Hospital. The mother was visiting her child who was in the hospital because of what was described as a "history of life-threatening episodes."

At the time of the visit, the child had been put in the view of a video monitor capable of recording any of the unexplained episodes.

A recording of the mother's interaction with the child that day showed her taking a cotton ball-sized object, described as a white cloth ball taken from a stuffed toy bear's hat, and shoving the item into the child's mouth, according to an MUSC police incident report.

"After several seconds the mother pushed the object further into the child's mouth and walked away," the police report said. "A minute later the nursing staff was alerted the child was in distress and the mother was holding the child who was choking." Younginer reportedly asked for assistance.

As Younginer walked away, "the child almost immediately appears to begin struggling to breathe," the police narrative also said.

MUSC staff then held the child face down and delivered several blows to her back. The baby vomited and the white ball was dislodged.

After the woman was confronted by authorities, she told them her baby had frequently stopped breathing or began choking her entire life, the report said.

The officer interviewing Younginer then quoted the woman as being "very proud of herself for being so good at doing CPR on her baby so she doesn't die," one time as long as 40 minutes. She also claimed to have saved her baby at least twice before in the hospital.

Nurses began having suspicions that Younginer was trying to harm the child as much as two days before she was caught, the report also said.

After she was taken into custody and confronted with the video evidence, Younginer reportedly faked a fall and passing out.

The child was taken into custody by Berkeley County Department of Social Services officials.