NOBLE, Okla. - According to court documents, Melissa Clark was “stressed” and “feeling like a loser because her husband didn’t look at her anymore, they were about to lose it all (financially), and her son was fighting criminal charges.”
Clark was arrested for child abuse on Friday after a 4-month-old baby was rushed to the hospital from Clark’s in-home Noble day care the Tuesday before.
The 4-month-old had to be airlifted to Tulsa and was pronounced dead at a hospital there.
According to doctors, she had a “subdural hematoma, severe retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes, and a bruise on her forehead which is consistent with impact.”
In the court affidavit, Clark listed two different incidents that injured the baby the day she was taken to the hospital.
Clark told investigators around 11:30 that morning she was holding the baby and went to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.
“Somehow Clark dropped [the victim] and [the victim] hit the tile floor."
She said the baby’s “head hit the tile first.”
Everything appeared to be okay but, just about an hour and a half later, she said “the other children were arguing and fighting and she couldn’t get them to stop. At that time, [the victim] was also crying and wouldn’t stop. Clark lost it and threw [the victim] onto the bouncy seat."
Clark told investigators the baby’s “body hit the bar on the bouncy seat. From there, [the victim's] body fell onto the floor.”
Clark said she simply put the baby back in the bouncy seat and, when it appeared she was falling asleep, laid her on a blanket on the floor.
But, a short time later, she heard a sound as if “[the victim] was choking on fluids.”
She rushed over and picked her up and noticed her “body was limp and that she wasn’t breathing but once every 10 to 15 seconds.”
She told investigators she attempted CPR.
Other parents whose children were in the care of Clark said they can’t believe this.
“My daughter loves her. I know she loved my daughter,” said Kirsten Powers, whose 3-year-old daughter was at the day care the day the baby stopped breathing.
Power found out through a phone call.
“Essentially, it was Melissa. She was very upset. It was difficult to understand her because she was obviously very upset,” Powers said.
Powers raced to the house to help with the other children.
“It’s sickening. Every ounce of me doesn’t want to believe that that’s possible,” Powers said.
“She’s been amazing with my kids,” said Tiana Shaw, whose children have been in Clark’s care off and on the past several years. “Her patience level is just like that of a saint.”
Doctors at the hospital in Tulsa told investigators the events that Clark described may have happened that day but that they still didn’t explain the baby’s injuries.
They said her “condition would have been caused by a shaking component – thrusting of the head forward and backward with acceleration and deceleration."
They told investigators “this is a child abuse case, the baby was shaken, and due to the severity of the injuries the symptoms would have been immediate.”
Clark has bonded out of jail.
A GoFundMe site set up for the baby’s family had already raised more than $9,000 as of Monday afternoon.