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Father arrested in Shaken Baby case

No bond for aggravated battery, child abuse charges

Father arrested in Shaken Baby case

Father arrested in Shaken Baby case

Michael Ray Huffines Jr.


    Tuesday, Bulloch County Sheriff's investigators arrested the father of a baby they said suffered from "Shaken Baby" syndrome. Michael Ray Huffines Jr., 23, Holloway Lane, is behind bars on charges of aggravated battery and cruelty to children, held without bond, said Bulloch County Sheriff Lynn Anderson.
    A four-month-long investigation by Bulloch County Sheriff's Investigator Walter R. Deal, Department of Family and Children Services caseworkers, and investigators from the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit District Attorney's office  led to Huffines' arrest, he said.
     Deal began looking into the incident Nov. 5, 2007, after a DFCS caseworker told him doctors said the baby, then two months old, "might be the victim of what is known or referred to as 'Shaken Baby' syndrome," Anderson said.
    The baby had been taken to East Georgia Regional Medical Center, then transferred to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah.
    The case attracted the concern of citizens who expressed frustration at the time it took to make an arrest, posting messages on the Statesboro Herald web site blog (www.statesboroherald.com) discussing the baby's condition and commenting on the delay in investigators arresting the offender.
    Bulloch County Sheriff Chief Deputy Gene McDaniel responded to those comments in an interview with the Statesboro Herald, explaining the criminal investigation process that requires a certain degree of evidence before arrests can be made.
    Deal pursued the case, conducting interviews and collecting evidence, then turned the case over to the district attorney's office in January. Further investigation by DA investigator Tom Woodrum, paired with investigations by Deal and DFCS caseworkers, resulted in enough evidence to arrest Huffines, Anderson said.
    "I'm glad it's over," said the baby's great-aunt Iris Metzger, who along with her husband is one of the baby's care givers. "I'm glad justice is being served for this child."
    The baby, Cheyenne, is approaching six months of age and is gaining weight, but faces serious health challenges. She is blind because of damage to the portion of the brain that controls eyesight, Metzger said.
    The infant receives in-home nursing care,  has a shunt in her head to relieve pressure and is fed through a gastrointestinal tube, she said.
    "We're not seeing massive improvement," Metzger said, but "she knows my voice."

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