Brenda and Josh say their baby, Naomi, was taken from them after Josh was accused of child abuse. The couple claim Naomi accidentally fell from Josh’s lap, but he ultimately was convicted of second-degree child abuse.

Dr. Phil discusses the case with Brenda and Josh, who appears via satellite from prison. What might have happened to Naomi?

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Parents Accused

Brenda says last March, she left 11-week-old Naomi with Josh while she went to the salon. When she returned, she says a concerned Josh told her Naomi had accidentally slipped off his lap. He said he reached out to stop her and caught her face. Brenda says Naomi had a scratch but seemed fine. “Not for a minute did I think there was something more to the story,” she says.

But soon after, Naomi became very ill. She was in and out of the hospital, where tests revealed bleeding in her brain and eyes. Brenda says she and Josh were shocked when a doctor accused them of abuse. “Josh describes it as though a grenade were being dropped in the room,” she says.

Thus began an ordeal that saw Naomi taken from her parents and Josh sentenced to 12 months in prison. Brenda, who was cleared of any wrongdoing, finally got Naomi back and says she went into hiding, out of fear her daughter would be taken again.

Brenda and Josh say they believe Naomi could have had a pre-existing injury from her complicated birth, which included several failed attempts at vacuum extraction. Brenda says newborn Naomi had bruising on her head and ear.

“In your most skeptical moment, did you question his intention? Did you wonder if he did something?”

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“OK, Josh, talk me through what you did do.”

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Click here to read complete statements from the prosecuting attorney and Michigan DHS.

Dr. Phil introduces Dr. Charles Sophy, Medical Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services, to discuss shaken baby syndrome, as well as the potential risks associated with vacuum-assisted delivery.

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What might have happened to Naomi?

Dr. Phil: “There’s a question mark in my mind about this.”

Extra Content

  • Dr. Phil reached out to the child abuse pediatrician involved in the case, but they declined our request to comment.

  • If you have questions regarding shaken baby syndrome/abusive head trauma, visit:
  • Dr. Charles Sophy
    Medical Director for the L.A. County Department of Children and Family Services
  • Attorney Elizabeth Warner
  • Dr. Robert Block
    Former President of the American Academy of Pediatrics