Doctor's report narrows time Edmond's baby Jake was injured

The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a medical opinion stating he believes the injuries that killed an Edmond baby 10 months ago were sustained at the home of his baby sitter.
BY RANDY ELLIS, NOLAN CLAY AND ROBBY TRAMMELL Published: January 15, 2012

Copyright 2012 © The Oklahoman

A leading expert on child abuse has concluded the injuries that killed an Edmond baby 10 months ago were suffered at the home of his baby sitter.

“It is obvious” that Edmond baby Jacob “Jake” Ryan Hedger suffered new and violent injuries on March 8, Dr. Robert Block, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, stated in a medical opinion reviewed Friday by The Oklahoman.

Jake was nearly 9 months old at the time of his death.

“It is my professional opinion that ... (Jake) suffered these new injuries between the hours of approximately 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. on March 8, 2011, while in the care of the baby sitter,” Block wrote.

The baby sitter, Traci Kramer, 41, has denied hurting Jake. No arrest has been made in the case.

Jake's parents have expressed frustration about the slow pace of the Edmond Police Department's investigation.

Questions have been raised about whether delays are because of professional friendships between Edmond police officers and the husband of the baby sitter.

Kevin Kramer, the baby sitter's husband, is a drug lab supervisor at the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation who helped train Edmond police officers in 2004 and 2007. Traci Kramer was operating an unlicensed home day care at the time of the death.

Prosecutors have not filed any charges primarily because the state doctor who did the autopsy will not narrow the time of the fatal injury to the time that Jake was at the baby sitter.

Block expressed no such time reservation in his medical opinion regarding Jake's death. The report was written at the request of the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth, a state child-welfare oversight agency. The letter was dated Sept. 14 and marked “confidential.”

Block said his opinion was based on information from everyone interviewed that Jake had no injury symptoms when he was dropped off at the baby sitter's home that morning and the baby sitter did not report the appearance of any symptoms until about 3 p.m. that afternoon.

“His symptoms would have developed rapidly subsequent to the actual injury,” Block wrote.

Block, whose medical specialty is child abuse pediatrics, was chief child abuse examiner for Oklahoma at the time he issued his opinion and is now president of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He could not be reached for comment Friday.

Block's opinion is consistent with the opinions given by two physicians at The Children's Hospital at OU Medical Center, where Jake died. Those physicians reported they “believed that based on the nature of the injury and the time of contact to EMSA (the ambulance service) ... it was an injury that occurred while he was in the care of the day care and not his parents,” a Department of Human Services report states.

Gary James, attorney for the Kramers, said he has obtained medical opinions from two other experts who concluded the child was not injured while at the baby sitter's house.

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