Mother's Charges Could Upgrade From Child Abuse To Murder Monday

The Pitt County Medical Examiner's Office says a baby's death has been ruled a homicide.

Dakota Etheridge died Monday after the father of the baby took him off life support. The baby had been on a ventilator for the past three months at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.

The Medical Examiner's Office says the baby died from non-accidental head trauma. The baby's mother, Sandy Etheridge, was charged back in April with felony child abuse inflicting serious injury. At the time the baby was just 10 weeks old.

Pitt County Chief Deputy James Tripp says they'll use the information from the autopsy and go before a grand jury on Monday to have the charges against Etheridge upgraded.

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A baby who deputies say was violently shaken at just 10 weeks old had died.

The Pitt County Medical Examiner's Officer confirmed to WITN News that Dakota Etheridge died Monday at Pitt County Memorial Hospital.

The baby, according to deputies, was injured back in March when his mother shook the child so violently that he suffered brain injuries.

At the time Sandy Etheridge was charged with felony child abuse inflicting serious injury. Chief James Tripp says they will have to wait on an autopsy report before commenting whether charges against the mother would be changed.

An autopsy on the baby is scheduled for Wednesday. Authorities say Etheridge has four other children that have been taken away by the Department of Social Services.

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