published Thursday, January 19th, 2012

Georgia father charged in infant's death

More than a year after an infant girl died in a Chattanooga hospital from head injuries, her father has been charged in her death.

A Murray County grand jury indicted Isaac Whaley on charges of murder and second-degree cruelty to children earlier this week, according to the Murray County clerk of court.

The death of the 4-month-old Jaidyn Whaley was ruled a homicide in 2011.

The Georgia Bureau of Investigation had said local law enforcement had asked the agency to look into her death, but no one was named a person of interest.

On Nov. 17, 2010, Whaley brought Jaidyn to the hospital after someone dialed 911 from a Chatsworth, Ga., home, authorities said. The infant died two days later at Children's Hospital at Erlanger.

The autopsy showed Jaidyn died of abusive head trauma, which used to be called shaken baby syndrome, Conasauga Circuit District Attorney Kermit McManus said in a previous interview.

He said Whaley didn't intend to kill the child, but prosecutors believe he caused her death by shaking her.

McManus presented evidence to the grand jury Monday, but the verdict wasn't made public until Wednesday.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Whaley had not been booked into the Murray County Jail, a jail employee said.

The county will make arrangements to pick up Whaley after a judge issues a bench warrant for his arrest, said GBI Special Agent Greg Ramey.

If convicted, Whaley could be sentenced to life with or without parole, McManus said.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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