Grand jury declines to indict BR man in daughter’s death

An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury on Wednesday declined to indict a man accused of injuring his daughter so severely when she was a baby that it led to her death five years later.

Taliyah Edwards, 5, died Aug. 22 from a terminal seizure that the Coroner’s Office said stemmed from injuries she suffered during a “shaken-baby syndrome” incident that occurred about five years ago.

Baton Rouge police arrested her father, Terry Edwards, 32, 11320 Greenwell Springs Road, Apt. 3101, on Feb. 20 and booked him into Parish Prison on a count of second-degree murder, saying in his arrest warrant that he shook her so violently on April 11, 2008, that it caused a traumatic brain injury.

On Wednesday, the grand jury sent back a no true bill, meaning there was not enough evidence to indict Edwards.

District Attorney Hillar Moore III said Wednesday that he could not discuss the evidence presented to the grand jury, but agreed with the panel’s verdict, citing what he called “insufficient evidence to support charges against Edwards” because of statements made by the mother and father coupled with what he called conflicting medical evidence.

Cpl. Don Coppola Jr., a Baton Rouge police spokesman, said at the time of the arrest that investigators believed they had enough probable cause to support a second-degree murder charge.

Attempts to reach Edwards on Wednesday afternoon were unsuccessful.

The Coroner’s Office ruled Taliyah’s death a homicide after her autopsy, tracing the cause of the terminal seizure to the traumatic brain injury she suffered on April 11, 2008. On that day, she was admitted to the pediatric emergency unit of Our Lady of the Lake Hospital with what doctors determined was a stroke that had occurred sometime in the previous month, according to Terry Edwards’ arrest warrant.

They suspected that stroke may have been the result of shaken baby syndrome.

Doctors said the only other way she could have gotten those injuries was from a high-speed crash, the warrant says. But the parents both said Taliyah had never been in an accident.

Taliyah was returned to her parents after the hospital visit, Baton Rouge police have said. In the five years between the stroke and Taliyah’s death, there were no reports of abuse or neglect.