Woman charged with baby shaking allowed to see her children

Monday, December 21, 2009 | 6:23 p.m. CST; updated 6:41 p.m. CST, Monday, December 21, 2009

COLUMBIA — A Columbia woman accused of violently shaking a 1-year-old girl she was babysitting will be allowed to visit her own children.

Tiffany Zane, 31, is charged with first-degree assault in connection with an incident on the afternoon of Nov. 12 at her home on Linden Way. According to a probable cause statement, firefighters and paramedics responded to a 911 call about an "unresponsive child" who had allegedly fallen from a bed and had a seizure.

Zane said the child, who is referred to as "E.D." in court documents, fell after Zane turned her back to wash her hands after changing the child's diaper.

But a doctor at University Hospital, where the child was taken for treatment, told police that "in order to cause this damage there was an extreme amount of force used on the victim, such as shaking the child," the statement said. According to the doctor, the injury "was not consistent with a fall from a bed," according to previous Missourian reporting.

Zane was charged Nov. 20, according to Missouri Casenet. One of the conditions of her bond stipulated that she not have contact with anyone under the age of 17 including her two small children, who are 3 months and 21 months old. To fulfill the terms, Zane has been staying with a friend while the children remain in their home at 2902 Linden Way in the care of their father and a babysitter.

At a hearing to modify the conditions of Zane's bond Monday in the 13th Circuit Court for Boone County, Zane's attorney, Connie Sullivan, said there was no reason to prevent Zane from having contact with her children.

"She hasn't seen or spoken to her children since Nov. 19 — although she occasionally has the babysitter put the phone down while they're sleeping so she can hear them breathing," Sullivan said.

Judge Deborah Daniels said deciding whether to allow Zane to be with her children is "difficult because the charge is very serious."

After about an hour of discussion between Daniels and Sullivan, the judge decided to modify Zane's bond conditions to allow her contact with her two children. Daniels also decided to allow Zane contact with the child she's expecting in March. Zane is still not permitted contact with any other person under the age of 17.

Zane's preliminary hearing is scheduled for Feb. 4.


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