OSWEGO, NY – Audrey Arnold was sentenced to a year in Oswego County Jail this morning (June 3).
On May 31, 2006, three-month-old Fajo Edwards was taken by ambulance from Arnold’s daycare center on the 66 Road.
The former Hannibal daycare provider was charged with endangering the welfare of a child.
Arnold sobbed as Judge Walter Hafner announced his sentence.
She was assisted out of the courtroom by her attorney, James Eby.
Fajo’s parents, Lizette Alvarado and Elroy Edwards, were surrounded by family members and other supporters as they left the Public Safety Center.
“I have some peace,” Lizette said. “The best part is that Fajo is still here with us. I am able to hug him and take care of him. That’s the best part.”
“As far as Audrey Arnold is concerned, only she knows what happened that day. Elroy and I and our family have had to rely on the doctors at University Hospital and Oswego Hospital, what they told us. They told us that Fajo is a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome,” she continued. “He is a survivor of Shaken Baby with a traumatic brain injury.”
Does she feel she’s gotten justice?”That is so difficult to decide, to come to terms with ‘justice.’ It depends on how you define justice,” she said.
Addressing Arnold during her statement in court, she said, “You almost killed my son, that can’t be sugar-coated.”
She also turned to Arnold and to the standing-room-only group of Arnold’s supporters and displayed large photographs of Fajo before and after the incident.
While she wanted Arnold punished to the fullest extent of the law, Lizette added, “I wish you and your family no harm whatsoever.”
“No parent wants to bury their child. But we likely will because of your actions, Audrey,” she continued. “Justice for Fajo. Justice for my son.”
“We’ve gotten through the easy part. Now comes the toughest part,” Elroy added outside the courtroom. “We have a child with permanent disabilities – permanent, requiring lifelong care. I can’t stress that enough. We cannot do this alone. I know we cannot do this alone.””There have been many sleepless nights, including last night,” he added.
It has taken a big toll on their lives and relationship, he admits.
“But, we have to remain strong for Fajo. That’s all that matters,” he said. “He’s going to need many resources going forward, many resources. No matter what; we will do what we need to do for Fajo.”
“There’s no winners here. There’s just no winners,” Lizette said. “She gets to spend a little bit of time in jail. Fajo gets to spend a life sentence. He may not live up to the age of 2, according to some doctors, some said he may not live to the age of 5. But I have hope. I really hope that I don’t have to bury my child, that instead he will bury me.”
This spring, the four-day trial featured emotional testimony from Arnold as she maintained while she did shake the infant it was “gently,” and according to the “Shake and Shout” CPR procedure she learned.
A CPR instructor testified for the prosecution that she had never heard of such a procedure.
As a childcare provider, she knew that she should never shake a baby because it was likely to damage the child’s brain, Oswego County District Attorney Donald Dodd noted.