Thank you to everyone for taking the time to read and share this story. 100% of the money raised here will be used to put together a team of legal and medical experts that will fight for the truth and bring Andrew home to his family.
He did everything he could to protect her, yet we could not protect him from the injustice that was to come.
The epidemic of misdiagnosis, false accusations of abuse, and innocent people being convicted continues although the medical community is divided.
The Syndrome is real..
This could be your story...
Rylee Grace Stephens was born August 9, 2012 into the loving arms of Andrew and Amber Stephens. Although Amber was sick during labor, Rylee appeared to be healthy after a short stay in the NICU and a weeks worth of antibiotics.
On November 2nd, at the age of almost 3 months old, Rylee was rushed to the local emergency room because she had gone limp, been vomiting, and had what was likely a seizure. Father and daughter were sent home with a diagnosis of “spitting up infant”. Symptoms continued 2 more times over the following days, and Rylee was taken both times to the same emergency room. She was sent home once with a new diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease and the third time she was transferred to a nearby children’s hospital where she could receive a higher level of care.
Rylee was given an MRI and it showed that there was bleeding around her brain. She was placed on monitors, given loading doses of anti-seizure medications and IVs were started. Her parents and other family members stood by helplessly watching her condition worsen while doctors offered no additional testing and gave no possibilities or reasons for her condition other than child abuse.
14 days after Rylee showed her first symptoms her condition hadn’t improved. Fluid and blood were compressing her brain and she would need surgery to relieve the pressure. Burr holes were drilled into her skull and the fluids were drained successfully. Her brain did not expand quickly as expected but she was soon stable enough to go home. Although allegations were unfounded by some agencies Rylee’s parents were not permitted to be alone with her while their “case” was pending, so friends and family were there by their side.
The team of doctors at the children’s hospital declined to consider what might have caused Rylee to become so ill. Their sole focus was to blame someone, in Rylee’s case, her father, who had done everything in his power to get help for her. In their minds, there is nothing that could have caused this besides the ever controversial Shaken Baby Syndrome (except, they can’t use that term anymore).
After being arrested on a heinous charge, Andrew was released on bond to await trial. He was not permitted contact with his daughter and could not leave the state of Virginia, not only because of his bond agreement, but because he was an active duty Navy sailor. Andrew spent 2 1/2 years away from his wife and daughter, who moved back to Iowa to be with family. He had to see all of Rylee’s firsts on video or through photos. The doctors and the state wrongfully took away time from his wife and daughter that he will never get back.
Andrew was tried in June of 2015. A jury believed the junk science and speculation of one doctor and discarded all opinions and evidence to the contrary. They convicted Andrew of a horrific crime that he did not commit and he is now facing up to 20 years in prison.
Rylee is now almost 3, a happy, healthy, rambunctious little girl. She has met or surpassed all of her developmental milestones to date, and is not permanently impaired as the doctor for the prosecution would have you believe. She misses her daddy and needs him in her life. The state has taken another innocent parent from a loving family.