Autopsy results on Marion County baby awaited

Autopsy results on Marion County baby awaited

November 13th, 2012 by Ben Benton in News

Marion County detective Beth Schindel.

Photo by Contributed Photo/Times Free Press.

There still are no charges filed in the June death of a 3-month-old who suffered "major trauma" to his brain under circumstances investigators and medical officials called "suspicious."

That could change with the release of Colin Eugene Russell's autopsy, Marion County, Tenn., detective Beth Schindel said Monday.

The results will be turned over to the district attorney's office to determine if there was criminal wrongdoing in the infant's death, but Schindel could not say when those results could come.

The infant's family is "just taking it day by day," Schindel said.

"It's very tragic losing a baby, and they're very upset. They're as anxious to get the report back as we are," she said.

Meanwhile, the baby's father, Chris Russell, 23, remains a "person of interest" in the case, Schindel said.

Attempts Monday to contact Russell and the boy's mother, 24-year-old Leah Collins, were unsuccessful. Collins' Facebook page shows several photos of her son along with messages of condolence from relatives and friends.

The investigation was launched after a June 17 emergency call from family members when the infant stopped breathing, officials said.

Marion County Sheriff Ronnie "Bo" Burnett said the infant was taken to Grandview Medical Center in Jasper, where he was stabilized before being taken to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. Burnett said Vanderbilt officials early on described the injuries as "major trauma" to the child's brain. He died after the family decided to discontinue life support on June 23.

Schindel said initial medical scans and an MRI scan performed before the baby died showed he had retinal hemorrhaging and brain trauma, injuries similar to those found in cases of "shaken baby syndrome."

Medical officials also found rib fractures that "were at least 10 days old," and they noted that, for a few days before he stopped breathing, the baby had been throwing up -- a possible sign of brain injury, Schindel said.

Contact staff writer Ben Benton at bbenton@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6569. Subscribe to his Facebook posts at facebook.com/ben.benton1 and follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/BenBenton.