The cause of death of a 6-week-old baby in Ballarat remains a mystery following a hearing in the Victorian Coroner’s Court.
The child, known as Baby A, was born premature in September of 2020 and released from hospital on December 1st before his death in a Redan home on Boxing Day of that year.
In September 2020, at the time of Baby A’s birth, the Department of Health and Human Services was notified of concern for the welfare of Baby A’s sister’s due to her witnessing the perpetration of Domestic Violence on the pair’s mother by their father; the children were put on an interim accommodation order (IAO) at this time.
At the time of Baby A’s death on Boxing Day 2020 the father was in the house against DHHS orders as a result of the DV situation.
Circumstances around the death of Baby A remain unclear, largely due to the failure of a full autopsy being performed at the time of his death.
Baby A’s mother reports sleeping with Baby A in her bed on Boxing Day morning, the baby face up on pillows and his father next to him.
At some time that morning, Baby A’s mother noticed him unresponsive and called paramedics, at which time the baby’s father fled the property over the back fence due to his not being allowed to be in the home.
Baby A was taken to Ballarat Base Hospital but could not be revived.
The Coroner’s Court heard on Tuesday heard that Baby A’s mother objected to a full autopsy following the infant’s death.
Director of the Victorian Institute of Forensic Medicine Professor Noel Woodford recommended a full autopsy be performed after he was unable to find visible signs of trauma, however this was declined at the time by Coroner Phillip Byrne.
Without the autopsy at the time of death, Coroner Fitzgerald – presiding over Tuesday’s summary inquest – could not be satisfied the death was not in relation to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and could ultimately not make a determination into the child’s passing.