TULSA - A lawsuit has been filed in the July death of a 14-month-old boy while a criminal investigation continues.
Wagoner County authorities continue to investigate the death of Davis Ryan Brafford, who was hurt while in the care of his stepmother, Wagoner County District Attorney Jerry Moore said.
He said there is no statute of limitations on filing a murder charge.
“We are not ready to file charges,” Moore said. “In a civil case, you have a whole different burden of proof.”
Moore confirmed the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation is also looking into the child’s death.
Amber Brafford of Tulsa, the mother of Davis, filed the wrongful-death suit in Tulsa County in December against the stepmother, Shiloh Brafford of Broken Arrow.
Former Jay School Superintendent David Schachle is the father of Amber and the grandfather of Davis.
Amber Brafford declined to comment on the lawsuit, on the advice of her attorney. Shiloh Brafford has a nonpublished phone number and her attorney, Anthony Sutton, did not return calls.
The state medical examiner’s office ruled the toddler died from craniocerebral injuries due to blunt head trauma, said Cherokee.
Ballard, spokeswoman. Manner of death is unknown, she said.
Telephone calls to the Broken Arrow police were not returned.
Davis was taken to the St. Francis Hospital emergency room July 18 with retinal hemorrhaging and intracranial bleeding, the petition alleges. He did not regain consciousness and died two days later.
Shiloh Brafford, who the lawsuit says is an intensive care nurse, is accused of not immediately seeking medical treatment after Davis became lethargic. Instead, she placed the child on a bed and allowed him to be bounced by other children and eventually placed him in her own arms and bounced him before calling for medical help, the petition states.
Shiloh Brafford’s attorneys filed an answer to the lawsuit that claimed a parent can’t be sued for negligence, and that a step-parent is covered.
“We looked at the parent immunity issue and it’s my opinion it does not apply in this case,” said Charles Shipley, one of Amber Brafford’s attorneys.
A judge will rule on that issue, Shipley said.
On the day the child was taken to the hospital, Shiloh Brafford called Daniel Brafford, the child's father, and told him Davis was being treated because he had blood coming out of his ears, Shipley said.
Shiloh Brafford told the hospital staff Davis had slipped and fallen on a floor in the home after getting out of the pool. After attempts to arouse him failed she tried to give him some apple juice and finally called for medical help, Shipley said.
Medical records are not consistent with Shiloh Brafford's story that the child slipped and fell, he said.
“According to a medical record the doctor who examined Davis said the outgoing diagnosis was shaken infant syndrome,”Shipley said.