5-month-old boy dies of head trauma in St. Paul; Teenage baby sitter charged

Published 10:20 am Wednesday, February 1, 2017

By Sarah Horner

St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL — A St. Paul teenager faces murder charges after the infant she was baby-sitting died of injuries suffered while in her care.

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Tyanna Jabree Graham, 19, was charged Tuesday in Ramsey County District Court with unintentional second-degree murder in the death of the 5-month-old boy.

Police responded to a home on the 2200 block of West Seventh Street early Saturday morning on a report that a child wasn’t breathing.

The boy was taken by ambulance to Children’s Hospital, where doctors determined that he had suffered a severe brain injury. The boy’s “eyes were dilated and he was completely unresponsive,” the criminal complaint said.

The child, Jamir P. Dunagan, died Sunday.

The Ramsey County medical examiner’s office determined that traumatic head injuries due to “physical assault” that caused bleeding in his brain were to blame. The boy also had bruises and bleeding on his left lung and a cut on his lip.

“These injuries are classic findings for abusive head trauma and child abuse,” according to the complaint.

When interviewed by police, Graham gave conflicting accounts, according to the complaint.

First, she said the child had fallen from a couch and was having trouble breathing when she called 911, the complaint said. Later, she said his injuries may have occurred when she dropped him after tripping over a ball.

She eventually admitted being frustrated that she had to care for the child when she wanted to go out and might have “blacked out” and shaken him for 3 to 5 seconds while she was in that state, the complaint says.

Police examined her cellphone and found text messages sent Friday that illustrated her frustration.

One read, “I’m getting irritated my baby keeps waking up. He being a big … crybaby … I am been dealing with (this) all day I just closed the door but I still hear him and it’s irritating me I never let him cry.”

Graham has no criminal record in Minnesota.

She cried as she made her first court appearance on the charges Tuesday afternoon.

Her sister was in the courtroom, along with several of the infant’s relatives, including his mother, Whitney Dunagan, according to Dunagan’s cousin, Genevieve Hyatt.

Hyatt said the family is feeling angry, confused and heartbroken over Jamir’s death.

“He was the happiest baby. … He was always smiling, talking … he lit up a whole room,” Hyatt said. “He never cried … that’s why I don’t understand how this happened.”