Doctors falsely claimed Janiyah was se*xually assaulted before her death. James was arrested and was unable to attend his daughter’s funeral. An autopsy revealed that none of the injuries initially reported by doctors had occurred.
James Saltmarshall sat in jail, accused of se*xually assaulting and murd*ering his 8-month-old infant daughter, Janiyah, and never got to say his final goodbyes as her funeral took place without him. An autopsy two months later revealed Janiyah had suffered none of the injuries doctors initially reported.
James Saltmarshall and his 8-month-old daughter, Janiyah, stayed at the Alpine Motel in Inkster, Michigan. He recently gained custody after her mother, who had five other children, lost custody due to multiple child abuse complaints and a criminal conviction.
Janiyah was irritable on April 22, 2018, a particularly stressful day. She refused both a bottle and a nap. Unfortunately, James left her pack n’ play at his cousin’s house, and his car broke down that morning. After finally calming Janiyah down, James changed her diaper and held her until she fell asleep.
James sat on the bed, exhausted from the day, and inadvertently fell asleep. Janiyah was on the bed beside him when he awoke. She wasn’t taking any breaths.
Dad Dials 9-1-1
In a state of panic, James dialed 9-1-1 to report that she was not breathing. With critical injuries, paramedics rushed her to a nearby ER and then to the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in Detroit.
Dr. Stephanie Wright, the attending ED doctor, was informed by James that he was holding Janiyah and placing her on the bed when he noticed she was not breathing. He neglected to mention that he dozed off while holding her.
Dr. Wright examined Janiyah and discovered signs of trauma that contradicted Saltmarshall’s story. Among the findings was a large bleeding rectal tear, which was consistent with something being inserted into the anus. The doctor reported her concerns to the Department of Children’s Services.
Doctors Claim to Find More Injuries
Additional doctors were called in to examine Janiyah, and the injuries they discovered worsened. Dr. Scott Langenberg, one of the hospital’s attending physicians, texted the following report to Lt. Jeffrey Twardzik of the Inkster Police Department: “Baby has skull fractures, brain swelling on CT (likely will meet brain death criteria,) lung bruising, anterior anal lacerations.” Other studies are in the works. This is a case of non-accidental trauma. This child was murd*ered by the perpetrator.” At the time, Janiyah was still alive.
Her injuries, according to another doctor, were consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
“My daughter was fine,” James told Detective Musnon of the Inkster police department. We went to bed. I wake up to find her dead because I suffocated her too much in my sleep. I was too close to her. Man, I just didn’t want her to fall off the bed.”
The detective interrogated Saltmarshall about the other reported injuries. Before attempting to explain the injuries, Saltmarshall first asked, “What injuries?” He admitted to Munson that he may have shaken Janiyah to wake her up when he realized she wasn’t breathing. He also stated that Janiyah could have slipped out of his grasp and hit her head while he was performing CPR. He denied any participation, knowledge, or rectal injuries.
Police charged Saltmarshall with first-degree m*urder, child abuse, and se*xual assault on a minor based on these findings. He spent the next seven and a half days in jail awaiting his arraignment. He learned the charges against him, as well as the death of his daughter, at this hearing.
Janiyah was declared brain dead at 7:36 a.m. on April 23, 2018.
His face was etched with pain as he learned of his daughter’s death. His body shook uncontrollably as he tried to find a way to drown out some of the excruciating pain.
Despite posting bail, Saltmarshall was barred from contacting children and was unable to attend Janiyah’s funeral.
Autopsy Finds None of the Injuries Reported by Doctors; Charges Dismissed
Things changed two months later.
An autopsy performed on Janiyah contradicted the reports provided by the examining doctors. The medical examiner discovered no brain injuries, rectal tears, or skull fractures. The autopsy revealed that the rectal tear was a minute fissure caused by constipation. The skull fracture was only a minor laceration. There was no evidence of shaken baby syndrome or brain damage. According to the autopsy report, Janiyah died as a result of accidental asphyxiation caused by Saltmarshall holding Janiyah while they slept.
JAMES SALTMARSHALL IS INNOCENT
This is what pain looks like.