EXCLUSIVE: Family member speaks out about infant's death

EXCLUSIVE: Family member speaks out about infant's death

(KYTX) - A teenage couple from Lufkin is behind bars for the death of their infant son and tonight the family member they were living with speaks out for the first time to CBS 19 News.
CBS 19's Courtney Friedman sat down with Linda Bankhead today and Courtney joins us live now from memorial hospital in Lufkin.

The baby was rushed here Friday night because he was not breathing. When he died here at the hospital, doctors said he was severely malnourished. He weighed only 5.6 pounds. When he was born, he weighed over 6 lbs. 

"She was nothing but a baby herself.That's why I was trying to help her," says Bankhead.
Linda Bankhead wipes tears away as she talks about her niece, 18-year-old Dequisha Jackson.
Jackson and her child's father, 19-year-old Isaiah Tolliver, moved in with Bankhead a month ago with their almost 2-month old son, Imauri.
"Whenever she doesn't understand something she comes in and asks me," explinas Bankhead  

Jackson and Tolliver now sit behind bars for endangerment of their son, who died Friday at Memorial Hospital in Lufkin.

"He's warm but he's not moving or anything."
"Is the baby's chest rising?"

The voice calling 911 for help, belongs to Bankhead.

"My niece got up that morning and she came in and said my babys not breathing."
When Imauri died at the hospital, doctors say he was severely malnourished.
Both doctors and county investigators say the baby's spine and rib bones were visible through his skin.

"I know how skinny the baby was but I didn't think he was you know, dying. That wasnt even on my mind, or I would have taken him to the emergency room."
She says she told Jackson to take the baby to the doctor the week before, but the local clinic wouldn't see babies under 2 months old. Bankhead says Jackson booked an appointment for the 13th, two days after the baby died.
The appointment wasn't just for Imauri's weight, but also because he was having trouble breathing, and sounded congested.

"She told me that he had breathing problems in the hospital."

"She asked the nurse and the nurse said that's normal."

" I dont know what kind of health issues the child had. I don't know why he wouldnt grow because I know for a fact she kept feeding that baby. I know she was trying."  

A family friend who did not want to be named, also vouched for the young couple.   

"Everywhere I've seen them and when they come to my house they have the baby."
(and they were feeding it?) yes yes."
But in the arrest affidavits, detectives say the extremely emaciated state showed signs of neglect.

Emotion takes over as Bankhead sits and wishes she could rewind time.

Jackson and Tolliver are being held at the Angelina County Jail. They each have a 25,000 dollar bond.


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