Reporting Heather Brown
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – On Oct. 26, police were called to the 2400 block of Logan Avenue in north Minneapolis on a report of a girl who was not breathing. Fire and paramedics soon arrived as well to find 21-month-old Shaunessy Bradshaw cold on the floor.
Minneapolis Lt. Greg Reinhardt says Eric Paul Boone had been watching Shaunessy – the daughter of his girlfriend – that morning.
“The suspect, Mr. Boone, said she was sleeping and just stopped breathing,” Reinhardt said.
Investigators say immediately that the story didn’t add up. When paramedics put the toddler in the ambulance, they noticed more bruising in the light.
Over that weekend, Shaunessy’s mother told Hennepin County Child Protection Services she’d recently noticed blood clots in her daughter’s eyes and scratches on her face. She also said Boone admitted to hurting the little girl.
In the first few rounds of questioning, police say Boone changed his story after first saying the toddler just stopped breathing. He admitted on Oct. 29 that he “squished” her. He said the bruise on her head was due to a fall from a bed a few days before.
When he was questioned a week and a half later, Boone said Shaunessy’s squirming “had pissed him off” because he’d told her to stop.
“He admitted he was tired and frustrated and just snapped. And because of behavioral issues, he’d picked up the 21 month old and threw her on the bed like a sack of potatoes,” Reinhardt said.
Shaunessy was transferred to Children’s Hospital to work with specialists. Police say she was hurt so badly, she can’t breathe on her own and will need a tracheotomy. They also say she sustained a high cervical cord injury that will likely leave her with no feeling below her neck.
“This is the worst injury we’ve seen of a child this year,” Reinhardt said.
Boone is being held at the Hennepin County Jail on a charge of first-degree felony assault. If convicted, he could face between seven and 20 years in prison.