MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s been more than three years since a Minnesota woman nearly shook her best friend’s baby to death.
Tami Revering and Angie Pengelly had been friends since college. Their families enjoyed winter vacations together, and their husbands were even friends.
But that all came to an end when Revering made a decision that left her friend’s baby in the hospital and her behind bars.
Now the two are working together to prevent others from making the same mistake.
Revering may seem like a typical stay-at-home mom. But she is also a felon.
“It happened to me,” she said. “I’m, you know, a mother, I’m a wife, it can happen to anybody.”
In 2010, Revering was babysitting her best friend’s 4-month-old son.
It was something she did often, but this day, pregnant and sleep-deprived, she was unusually stressed.
“I was easily agitated,” she said. “We had some financial things with my husband being laid off several times…a lot of early signs of depression.”
They were signs Revering tried to bury. But the baby’s crying was too much.
“I remember sitting on the couch and just thinking: ‘Just sit here, don’t go in there, he’s fine, he’s safe in his crib,'” she said. “Eventually, the dark side won, and I went in there, and I shook him.”
She threw him on the bed twice, and the child went into a seizure.
Then Revering called 911 and confessed.
“We walked into a room and [the boy] was hooked up, he was in a diaper and he just laid there kind of lifeless,” said Pengelly, the boy’s mom.
She received two pieces of unbearable news: her child had suffered severe brain damage, and it was at the hands of her best friend.
“I was like, ‘No, that wouldn’t have happened,'” she said.
As the child was in the hospital, Pengelly says she rarely felt anger towards her friend.
“I know that’s not who she is,” Pengelly said. “I know that she is not a monster.”
Nearly four years later, the boy is stronger, but the friendship will never be the same.
Pengelly says she’s forgiven Revering, allowing them to stay in touch and even speak to parenting groups together.
“Know your breaking point,” Revering advises. “I did not know my breaking point.”
Pengelly’s son still struggles with fine motor skills and has short-term memory loss, but doctors call him a miracle – one that Pengelly says is her ultimate gift for finding it in her heart to forgive.
A judge sentenced Revering to a year in jail on staggered terms.
She reports to the Anoka County Work House for 15 days each November (the month the shaking happened) and each June (the month Pengelly’s son was born).