Medical Examiner Says Hospital Didn't Notify His Office of Baby's Decapitation Death, But Should Have

“It's our belief that the hospital should have contacted us and called us,” Brian Byars, director of the Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office, recently told PEOPLE The medical examiner’s office that ruled the decapitation death of a Georgia baby during childbirth a homicide says the office was made aware of what happened by the funeral home, and not the hospital where the death took place

Published Time: 10.02.2024 - 16:31:05 Modified Time: 10.02.2024 - 16:31:05

“It's our belief that the hospital should have contacted us and called us,” Brian Byars, director of the Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office, recently told PEOPLE

The medical examiner’s office that ruled the decapitation death of a Georgia baby during childbirth a homicide says the office was made aware of what happened by the funeral home, and not the hospital where the death took place.

The baby, Treveon Isaiah Taylor Jr., died on either July 9 or July 10 at Southern Regional Medical Center in Riverdale, Ga., according to a press release from the Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office. But the office first heard about the baby’s decapitation on July 13, when it received a call from the Willie Watkins Funeral Home.

“It's our belief that the hospital should have contacted us and called us,” Brian Byars, director of the Clayton County Medical Examiner’s Office, told PEOPLE in a recent interview.

“The circumstances, because there were a lot of unanswered questions and cause for trauma, we think we should have been contacted. And that's the reason we took jurisdiction over the case when we were notified," Byars said, adding that his office told law enforcement what had happened.

The child’s parents, Jessica Ross and Treveon Isaiah Taylor Sr., also claim they didn’t know the specifics of the baby’s death until days later, according to a fraud and negligence lawsuit they filed against the hospital last August.

“They were unaware, they were told that the baby didn’t make it,” Cory Lynch, an attorney representing the parents, recently told PEOPLE. “They were not tol -

d of the condition of the body.”

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Though it is possible criminal charges could result from the incident, the cause of death being listed as homicide does not necessarily indicate a crime has been committed, but instead means a person’s actions caused the death.

At a press conference Wednesday, Lynch and fellow attorney Roderick Edmond claimed when the couple asked to see their baby, hospital staff tightly wrapped the baby and propped up his head, which the parents believe constituted an attempt to conceal what had happened to their child.

“Lies and cover ups,” Edmond alleged.

Byars, of the medical examiner’s office, confirmed that the office was shown a picture of a tightly swaddled baby.

"It looked like they presented a very healthy, very good looking, beautiful child,” he told PEOPLE.

The parents' complaint against the hospital also alleges that hospital officials encouraged the parents to cremate the baby’s remains and told them that an autopsy “was not needed,” which the couple believes was an attempt to destroy evidence.

"We just want justice for our son,” Treveon Sr. said at Wednesday's press conference. Referencing hospital staff, he alleged, “They lied to us.”

After the death was ruled a homicide, Southern Regional Medical Center toldCNNit could not comment due to the pending litigation.

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