Father speaks out after baby's decapitation death in Clayton County ruled homicide

Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr. addressed the public for the first time since the tragic death of his child at a news conference held at his attorneys' office in southeast Atlanta on Wednesday.

The Clayton County Medical Examiner's Office ruled the baby's death a homicide on Tuesday. 

Expressing his grief, Taylor stated, "We just want justice for our son. They lied to us. They didn't let us touch him. We don't like it. We just want justice for our son," during the interaction with reporters.

Taylor, along with his child's mother, Jessica Ross, is pursuing legal action against Southern Regional Medical Center, OB-GYN Tracey St. Julian, several nurses, and a medical group. Their lawsuit stems from the horrifying incident where the couple's baby, Treveon Isaiah Taylor Jr., was decapitated during childbirth in July.

Attorneys for the couple say the findings contradict Southern Regional Medical Center's assertion that the baby died in utero before delivery.

"Contrary to what Southern Regional Medical Center put out there that the baby died from complications of shoulder dystocia before the decapitation when they took her back to the operating room," attorney Dr. Roderick Edmond explained,  "the medial examiner's office came and determined independently that the cause of death was trauma to the neck, the baby's neck was broken and the baby died."

The attorneys for the couple further allege that the doctor and staff involved in the delivery actively tried to conceal the decapitation.

The parents of the child were unaware of the tragic details until three days later when the baby's body was transported to a funeral home in Riverdale. The family was notified by funeral home staff, prompting authorities to launch an investigation.

The couple's legal representatives contend that when the parents requested to see the baby, they were only permitted to view their deceased child through a glass window. During this distressing viewing, the baby was tightly wrapped in a blanket with his head positioned on top of his body to hide the decapitation.

Additionally, the attorneys claim that the medical staff discouraged the parents from seeking an autopsy and attempted to persuade them to opt for cremation.

Dr. Edmond expressed the gravity of the situation, stating, "It's all really, really jacked up. Every aspect of the evidence that shows what happened is traumatizing, something I've never seen in my life."

Clayton County Medical Examiner's Office Report

The Clayton County ME determined the specific cause of death of Treveon Taylor Jr. as a fracture-dislocation with complete transection of the upper cervical (C1-C2) spine and spinal cord. It was caused by shoulder dystocia, arrest of labor, and fetal entrapment in the birth canal.

Other significant conditions contribution to death included pregnancy-induced diabetes and premature rupture of membranes, according to the medical examiner's office. 

The ME's office says it received a call from the Willie Watkins Funeral Home on July 13 about the baby. Watkins told the ME's office they called because they thought it was unusual that the medical examiner's office was not already involved. Chief Investigator Betty Honey was dispatched to the funeral home. After her initial investigation, she requested the GBI to perform another autopsy.

She also contacted the Clayton County Police Department Criminal Investigation Division and they opened their own investigation. The Georgia Composite Medical Board and Georgia Department of Community Health’s Healthcare Facility Regulation Division were also contacted.

Director Brian Byars was communicating with Southern Regional Hospital to help gather any facts that were available at this point.

On July 14, the GBI's medical examiner conducted another autopsy.

On Oct. 19, Chief Honey and Director Byars consulted with an out-of-state OB/GYN who has performed over 10,000 labor deliveries and is a subject matter court expert.

On Oct. 20, Chief Honey and Director Byars consulted with a Georgia-based OB/GYN who has performed over 9,000 labor deliveries and is also an expert.

On Jan. 18, 2024, Chief Honey contacted a private forensic pathologist to review the findings and case files (over 600 pages) and information gathered from the OB/GYNs to determine the cause, manner and other significant conditions in the death of Treveon Taylor. 

What happens next?

Homicide means that the death was caused by the actions of another person. It is a general term and may refer to a noncriminal act as well as the criminal act of murder. 

The Clayton County ME says the case is still being investigated by the Clayton County Police Department with the possibility that it may be referred to the District Attorney's Office.