A 16-month-old baby from Van Etten is dead after police say his mother shook him last week. Nicole Freeman has been charged with reckless assault, but additional charges are expected to be filed as a result of her son’s death. As our Lara Greenberg tells us, neighbors are in disbelief over what happened just down the road.
CHEMUNG COUNTY, N.Y. -- An empty home and a rattled neighborhood. That's what's left after police say 27-year-old Nicole Freeman shook her 16-month-old baby to death.
It happened last Wednesday, but little Jason Shappee succumbed to his brain injuries at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania Saturday.
"There was bleeding in the retinas, different diagnoses that way, they were able to determine that would be the cause of that," NYSP Investigator Karl Aepelbacher.
The news of the toddler's death has left some neighbors disheartened.
"I can't understand how someone could do that to their own flesh and blood. I have two daughters of my own and it appalls me to think that someone could do that to their own child," said neighbor Rick Bailey.
"It makes me sick. I don't know how anybody could do that to a kid, no matter what the kid does. Especially a baby. No kid deserves anything like that," said neighbor Katie Elia.
Other neighbors who did not want to speak on camera told us they've called the Child Protective Services hotline about Freeman.
But her next door neighbor insists she's a good person that's simply been dealt a bad hand.
Freeman is being held in Chemung County Jail on $50,000 bail.
She has an older daughter, who's currently staying with family members.