Father sentenced for critical shaking of infant daughter

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Dakota Moran

A Fort Wayne father arrested in March after his daughter was rushed to a hospital not breathing and in critical condition was sentenced Friday.

Dakota Moran, 21, was sentenced by an Allen Superior Court judge to 7 seven years in prison followed by 3 years probation.

The incident happened March 14, when Fort Wayne Police were called to a home in the 2300 block of South Calhoun Street just before noon. According to a probable cause affidavit, the infant was not breathing.

The child was in Moran’s care at the time. Police on scene overheard Moran say, “I shook her but after she stopped breathing” and he was reportedly acting very strange, according to the affidavit.

Doctors discovered the child’s brain was bleeding as a result of trauma. During surgery, a neurologist discovered that the infant had another brain bleed that was 2-3 weeks old, the affidavit said.

During an interview with detectives, Moran told police the baby’s mother left for work around 8:30 that morning. He said the baby was “healthy and acting normal” at the time. The baby woke up around 11 a.m. and Moran told police she kept crying like she was in pain. Then he noticed the baby had trouble breathing, then her legs locked up and went stiff before she started to shake, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Moran told police he bounced her back and forth to try to get her to breath. Then he threw his phone to a friend, who was visiting at the time, and told him to call 911. He said he was pressing the baby’s belly and chest to try to help her breath.

“I didn’t hurt my daughter intentionally if that is what you guys are thinking,” Moran said in the affidavit. “Y’all are gonna have to kill me if your gonna take me to jail for something I didn’t do because I didn’t’ mean to (expletive) do it. Y’all are going to have to kill me if my daughter dies. I didn’t mean to do anything to her I just tried to help her out.”

Moran demonstrated the way he was bouncing the baby. Investigators noted that he was holding the doll behind its legs and not supporting its head initially. He told the detective he didn’t shake her until she was out of the bed and that is when she went limp. He said he was trying to wake her up.

Moran told police that he has shaken the baby in the past before admitting that he did shake the baby that day, according to the affidavit. Moran told police it had reportedly been 30-60 minutes between the time he shook the baby to the time she woke up in medical distress.

“I did shake her, but not hard,” the affidavit read. ”I didn’t shake her hard at all. I just don’t want to get in trouble. I love my daughter. I didn’t meant to hurt her. I didn’t think I hurt her, but I didn’t think I shook her that hard either. I didn’t shake her any harder than I would shake my kitten because you can hurt kittens the same way.”

He said the baby’s mother has seen him shake the baby.

Moran told police he “didn’t mean to do it and said he didn’t know his own strength. He told police that just 2-3 days ago he heard the baby crying and opened the bathroom door too hard and broke the mirror, according to the affidavit. He also told police that being home with the baby is “hard” and he is not use to being a dad.

A judge also ordered Moran can have no contact with the child.

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