Ohio mom charged with beheading 3-month-old baby
(Fox19.com) CINCINNATI, Ohio – The mother who beheaded her own 3-month-old baby is said to be suffering from a condition called Postpartum Psychosis, a very rare but severe mental illness.
“If she has a mental illness, the onset of this occurred recently and very rapidly,” said Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.
Deters says while most media outlets have Deasia Watkins’ driver’s license photo, it doesn’t come close to resembling what the mother looks like right now. Deters describes Watkins as disheveled, clearly not taking care of herself and while most new mothers do experience some type of postpartum depression, officials say Watkins is suffering from much more.
Less than two months ago, court documents say Deasia Watkins was diagnosed with postpartum psychosis and prescribed the medication Risperdal. Hamilton County Job and Family Services believe Watkins may not have been taking her medication which officials believe may have led to delusional thinking and hallucinations.
“It strikes against the very core of what we as humans and particularly a new mom is going to do,” says Stephen Strakowski, M.D. a psychiatry professor at UC Health.
According to Postpartum Support International, unlike postpartum depression which occurs in 1 in 8 new mothers, postpartum psychosis is much more rare and seen only 1 in 1,000 new mothers.
The Hamilton County Prosecutor calls the alleged beheading of a 3-month-old at the hands of her mother “one of the most disturbing cases I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Deasia Watkins, 20, was arrested on an aggravated murder charge Monday morning for the death of her 3-month-old daughter Jayniah.
A child in the home, located in the 5900 block of Waldway Lane, found the newborn lying on the counter with a severed head, according to Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, Hamilton County Coroner.
The baby also suffered multiple stab wounds to the face and a fractured right arm.
“These are images that will undoubtedly be marked in my memory,” Sammarco described. She noted that a cause of death has yet to be determine but the word “decapitation” will be used in the coroner’s report.
No one struggling more to comprehend this crime than Jayniah’s family members. Jayniah’s father, James Brown, said this has been one of the most difficult times in his life, losing his first born child.
“I miss her, and I wish she was here,” said James Brown.
Brown said this is devastating for him because he also lost his mother at a young age.
“Just trying to live with the situation that’s been going on has been very hard for me,” said Brown. “She’s so young and I haven’t really had a chance to be around her as long as I wanted to.”
Jobs and Family Services took custody of Jayniah earlier this month following a court motion that stated the child could be in immediate danger in its surroundings.
Although Watkins was ordered to stay away from her daughter, an aunt who received custody allowed Watkins to live with her, said Prosecutor Joe Deters.
Careatha White, Jayniah’s paternal great aunt, said that Watkins suffered from postpartum psychosis and she believed the Hamilton County system failed the child in letting her stay with a mentally ill mother.
“This could have been avoided, seriously,” said White. “Job and family services needed to be more on their A-game, investigate more in-depth with people.”
Deters said at a press conference on Tuesday that it appeared Jobs and Family Services had done their jobs exactly as they should.
“No one has the resources to monitor a mother and neglected child 24/7. They did what they had to do and unfortunately this happened, said Deters.
Deters said a grand jury will hear the case and that he does not anticipate seeking a death penalty specification due to apparent mental illness.
“This is a very quiet street. We’re all community-oriented. We all talk to each other,” said Shawntee Brown, who lives near the family. “It’s hard to believe something like this happened because I really don’t see a lot of activity down there.” The coroner’s entire forensic team is expected to piece the case together in an investigation this week.
“We’re trying to do right by this child. We need to bring some justice for this baby,” Sammarco told FOX19 NOW.