by Health Impact News/MedicalKidnap.com Staff
When Michael and Chelsea Wolken of Canyon County, Idaho, picked up their 5 month old baby last month from the babysitter’s house, they were concerned that she wasn’t acting right. Now, the babysitter has been charged with felony injury to a child and accused of Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Now that the parents are no longer being blamed, their baby should be home. Child Protective Services doesn’t see it that way, and they appear to be looking for any reason they can find to keep the child in their custody. The parents are devastated and just want Baby Rylee home, where she belongs.
Baby Shows Symptoms after Going to Babysitter
Before the night of August 25, 2017, Baby Rylee was acting normal. She played and cooed and interacted with her family just like she always did. On their way to their date night, the Wolkens dropped Rylee off at the home of a babysitter – a mother that Chelsea has known and trusted for 15 years.
Almost immediately upon getting Rylee home that night, the baby began projectile vomiting. She was fussy and lethargic. A couple of days later, a Child Abuse Specialist decided that she had Shaken Baby Syndrome.
Police issued an emergency order to place Rylee into the custody of Child Protective Services because, at that time, they said that they couldn’t rule out the parents as suspects. Chelsea’s other 4 children were removed also and placed with their fathers.
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The family was devastated. Rylee underwent surgery to drain excess fluid from her brain. When she was released from the hospital, she went to the home of foster parents. The baby was forced to recover from surgery with strangers unknown to her or her family.
Other Possible Causes Ignored
Child Abuse Specialist, Dr. Matthew J. Cox, asserted that the only explanation for Rylee’s symptoms had to be Shaken Baby Syndrome, despite numerous other conditions that can cause the same symptoms. Because of his diagnosis, everyone involved stopped looking for any other explanation.
The science behind Shaken Baby Syndrome has increasingly been challenged, and some now refer to it as “junk science.”
Mainstream Media Finally Exposing Shaken Baby Syndrome as False Diagnosis – How Many Innocent Parents Have Suffered? 
Rylee’s mother was given medications to stop premature labor during her pregnancy. She was born prematurely, and had breathing problems at birth. She was likely given oxygen at birth.
All of these things can result in symptoms that are part of the “diagnostic triad of symptoms” for Shaken Baby Syndrome: retinal hemorrhaging, brain bleeding, and brain swelling.
The theory is that all of these symptoms resolve within 5 to 8 weeks, and any of these symptoms seen after that point are indicators of abuse.
However, Dr. Steven Gabaeff, a clinical forensic physician, points out that:
Clinically, we know that crying, vomiting, or even normal handling have caused observable, often symptomatic episodic rebleeds. (Source )
Shortly after the Wolkens picked up their baby from the babysitter, Rylee began projectile vomiting, and her parents originally suspected a stomach bug or reaction to new formula. The possibility remains that she had a stomach virus, and the resulting crying and vomiting led to rebleeding in her brain, causing symptoms this time.
The baby received the standard vaccinations 2 weeks prior to the incident. Several of these vaccines, especially DTaP and Hep B, are known for leading to brain bleeding.
It could be that no one actually caused harm to the baby, but because the Child Abuse doctor, Dr. Matthew J. Cox, decided that the definitive diagnosis is Shaken Baby Syndrome, someone must be blamed, even if they are innocent.
Dr. Cox has a great deal of experience in the field of Child Abuse Pediatrics. Doctors in this field are trained in looking for abuse, but they are not trained as neurologists, orthopedists, or radiologists. They often find abuse in cases where other specialists have refuted their findings.
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Parents Cleared of Injuring Baby
From the beginning, Chelsea and Michael have maintained their innocence. Their baby was fine when they left for their date night, and it is apparent that some of her symptoms began while she was at the babysitter’s home.
Police originally looked at the parents, and their baby was removed from their custody because officers said that they couldn’t rule them out as suspects yet. Chelsea was forbidden to see her other 4 children.
The Wolkens logically assumed that, since the doctor said someone had to have inflicted harm on the baby, the babysitter must be responsible. The babysitter, likewise, pointed at the parents.
This type of finger pointing is very common in investigations such as these, where everyone who could be suspected tries to figure out what happened and who could be to blame. Investigations often pit husband and wife or parents and grandparents against each other. In this case, it is parents versus babysitter.
If a crime has been committed, it would logically be either the parents or the babysitter who is guilty. However, it is reasonable to believe that no crime was committed by anyone, and that this was a tragic sequence of events that mimics abuse but isn’t abuse.
Early in the investigation, the possibility was presented that Chelsea was on drugs. She quickly volunteered to take a drug test in order to put that suspicion to rest. The test showed that she was clean.
Chelsea volunteered to take a polygraph test in the hopes of showing that they had nothing to do with Rylee’s injuries. Many people warned her against it, saying that innocent people can sometimes fail because it measures stress responses. She was already under a great deal of stress with her baby being very sick and in the hospital, and some were worried that the test might cause more harm than good.
On September 19, Chelsea wrote:
I have been advised by counsel, friends, advocates and family about the risks of polygraphs. But I just wanted to inform everybody that I went against it all today and stuck with my intuition and went to my detective today unassisted and took my test.
She passed the test. Based on the polygraph test, police have ruled her out as a suspect in her daughter’s injuries.
The babysitter, however, did not pass her polygraph test. Subsequently, Kyla Vaughn was arrested on September 21 and charged with 2 felonies: injury to a child and infliction of great bodily injury. Bail was set at $50,000. Kyla has since bonded out and is awaiting trial.
The question remains – could she be innocent as well? It is unknown at this time if investigators have further evidence that she hurt Rylee or if she has any history of violence. Her only other arrest record is for a speeding ticket and failure to appear in 2013.
Baby Still Held by CPS
With the babysitter’s arrest, it would be reasonable to suspect that Rylee would be returned to her parents. The sole reason given for seizing her was the fact of her injuries and the fact that investigators had not ruled out the parents.
However, as many parents across the United States have learned, once Child Protective Services has their foot in the door of their lives, they don’t often leave easily. They often continue to look for other reasons to keep children in their custody for as long as possible. Parents and advocates have described this to Health Impact News as “fishing expeditions.”
The other children in the family have been released to come home. However, at the pre-trial conference the attorney for CPS told the Wolkens that CPS was “looking into other concerns.”
After the baby was hospitalized and seized from the parents, there was an incident where police were called for a “domestic disturbance,” because of a disagreement related to the stress of what has been happening with Rylee.
The parents were in a very unusual situation for them. When a child is taken from a family, for whatever reason, there is a great deal of stress involved. Hospitalization of a child is also a high stress situation. It is an expected and normal response that tensions run high.
However, there was no violence involved. There were no criminal charges filed, and no one was accused of anything.
CPS is allegedly using that incident, along with text messages and conversations with the babysitter who was later arrested, in order to keep Rylee in their care.
The next hearing is on Monday, October 2. It is an adjudicatory hearing which requires a preponderance of evidence that shows Kelsey and Mike to be unfit, or a danger to Rylee, or a need for services, in order to keep Rylee in CPS custody. Kelsey reports that the CPS case is based only on hearsay with no evidence, and that their attorney plans to file a motion to dismiss and a motion to return Rylee immediately to her home.
How You Can Help
A Facebook page has been set up by supporters of the family – The Fight for Rylee Wolken .
Governor C.L. Butch Otter is the governor of Idaho. He may be reached at (208) 334-2100, or contacted here .
Patti Ann Lodge is the Senator for the Wolken family’s district. She may be reached at (208) 459 7159, or contacted here .
There are two representatives for their district:
Representative Scott Syme may be reached at (208) 573 9301, or contacted here .
Representative Christy Perry may be reached at (208) 880 9720, or contacted here .
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