Parents sentenced in aggravated abuse of baby

Abuse left boy, now 22 months old, deaf, blind and in need of constant care

Published On: Apr 09 2013 08:24:07 PM EDT   Updated On: Apr 09 2013 12:30:47 PM EDT
Cherale & Kareem Jones
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

The mother and father of an boy who police say was suffocated with a pillow were sentenced Tuesday to prison for aggravated child abuse.

Cherale Jones, 22, was sentenced to 15 years on the abuse charge and 10 years to be served concurrently for aggravated child neglect. Her husband, 24-year-old Kareem, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for aggravated child abuse.

The boy, now nearly 2 years old, survived, but the abuse left him blind, deaf and in need of constant care.

Homicide investigators were called to Wolfson Children's Hospital in February 2012 when doctors said the baby's brain injuries were caused under suspicious circumstances.

According to the arrest report, Cherale Jones admitted to lying the child face down on a blanket surrounded by couch cushions for five to 10 minutes on Jan. 27, causing the baby to go unconscious.

ARREST REPORTS: Cherale Jones and Kareem Jones

She said she did it due to stress because the baby was crying and because of the things she was going through with her mother, according to the report.

While she claimed she revived the baby using CPR, she admitted to waiting 12 to 15 hours to take the child to Orange Park Medical Center.

The baby was transferred to Wolfson the next day, where doctors say there is brain-stem damage and the child is not expected to survive without a respirator.

Police said Kareem Jones admitted to being present when his wife suffocated the baby and watched as she revived the boy, saying he should have taken the victim to the hospital.

The abuse occurred on base housing as Kareem Jones was a Navy employee, but the case was prosecuted by civil authorities.