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Buffalo infant's death caused by shaken baby syndrome, police say

The September death of a 7-month-old boy in Buffalo has been ruled a homicide by the Erie County Medical Examiner's office, according to police.

King Jordan's death is a case of shaken baby syndrome, Buffalo Police Chief of Detectives Dennis J. Richards said.

Police were called Sept. 20 to an apartment on Grote Street, in the city's Grant-Amherst area, where a man told emergency response personnel his 7-month-old son wasn't breathing, Richards said.

The boy was taken by ambulance to Oishei Children's Hospital. He died Sept. 22, according to his obituary.

The Medical Examiner's Office ruled the infant's death a homicide Jan. 24, Richards said. The cause of death was blunt force injuries of the head and neck, he said.

No arrests have been made and the case remains under investigation by detectives in the department's homicide squad, Richards said.

Shaken baby syndrome is a serious brain injury caused when a person forcefully shakes a child, according to the Mayo Clinic. The shaking destroys brain cells and prevents the brain from getting enough oxygen. It is fatal in about one in four cases, according to the state Department of Health.

Symptoms of shaken baby syndrome include breathing problems, poor eating, extreme fussiness or irritability, difficulty staying awake, vomiting, pale or blush skin, seizures, paralysis or coma, according to the Mayo Clinic. In some cases, there may not be any visible signs of external injury.

Shaken baby syndrome is mostly seen in children younger than 2, and the majority of cases happen before the child turns 1, according to the American Association of Neurological Sciences. About 33 children younger than 4 are hospitalized every year in New York State with symptoms of shaken baby syndrome, according to the state health department.

Estimates differ on how prevalent shaken baby syndrome is in the United States.

According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome estimates that between 600 and 1,400 cases occur nationally every year. State health officials estimate between 1,000 and 3,000 cases occur in the country each year.

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