Mother arrested after 6-month-old daughter’s death ruled a homicide in West Georgia

MUSCOGEE COUNTY, Ga. — A 6-month-old girl’s death has been ruled a homicide and her mother has been arrested.

Keniyah Gates was taken to Piedmont Columbus Midtown Medical Clinic’s emergency room in Columbus on Sept. 25, 2023 and then later airlifted to a hospital in Atlanta before dying from her injuries.

“We suspected from interviewing the mother at the hospital that the girl died from shaken baby syndrome,” Muscogee County Coroner Buddy Bryan said. “The mother claimed the baby fell from a couch. We suspected that was not the case.”

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Bryan told Channel 2 Action News that his office received a call from the GBI Medical Examiner’s Office stating that an autopsy revealed that the child had severe brain trauma and it was due to more than just a fall.

The cause was listed as blunt force head trauma and the death was ruled a homicide.

Bryan said the baby’s father was devastated.

The girl’s mother, Shantra Gates, was arrested and charged in connection with the homicide.

“We have about 28 baby deaths a year in Muscogee County. Most of them are due to co-sleeping with the parent and the cause is usually asphyxiation,” Bryan said.


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