Chloe Masters, 18, dreamed of having a big family and lots of children. The teen’s wishes were just starting to come true after the birth of her first baby, Alexander, in 2015.
In October 2015, Masters left 4-month-old “Alex” in the care of his godmother, Claire Sawyer, 41, overnight. The British mom had been experiencing back pain and was struggling to cope, reports to Kidspot.
In the morning, Sawyer reportedly gave Alexander a bottle and fell back asleep on the couch. When she awoke, the baby had blue lips. The baby was taken to Lincoln County Hospital and was pronounced dead.
According to the BBC, Sawyer told Masters she had fallen asleep after the giving the baby a bottle on the couch but later told a nurse she fed the baby in a car seat with a blanket propped underneath, as the BBC reported in January.
During an inquest into the baby’s death, nurse Amy Henderson recalled Sawyer was hysterical upon reaching the hospital.
As Henderson recalled:
‘[She said] She took him out of the car seat and saw he had blue lips. As she moved him up she saw milk coming out of his nose and mouth.
[The nurse] asked what time she woke up but she was hysterical and saying she had killed the baby.
Sawyer was arrested on suspicion of murder but charges were never filed due to a lack of evidence, and because the baby’s cause of death could not be determined at the time.
Chloe Masters explained during the inquest she didn’t give Sawyer her baby’s Moses basket for him to sleep in because she believed the caregiver had plans to borrow one for his overnight stay, reports Lincolnshire Live.
“I would never have let Alex stay there if I knew he was going to sleep in a car seat.”
A coroner ultimately ruled Alexander died as a result of choking after a bottle had been propped up into his mouth. Stuart Fisher told the inquest:
“What I would say, which I am not saying to lecture, perhaps what has come out of this is the great danger of bottle propping.”
Sawyer reportedly maintained she did not prop a bottle into Alexander’s mouth but a post-mortem examination found milk in the baby’s lungs. Fisher called Sawyer an “unreliable witness” and concluded she had left the baby to feed in that position, reports the BBC. The examination also found the baby had two “non-accidental” leg fractures, the cause of which were not determined due to the number of people caring for the baby around the time of his death.
Masters asserted she didn’t cause the baby’s fractures and didn’t know who did. “There is no reason to believe the fractures were caused by Claire,” she told the inquest.
As Mom.me states, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) warns babies should never be left alone to feed with a propped up bottle due to the danger of choking. Propped up bottles might slip out of position and also increase the risk of ear infection. The AAP advises against the use of devices that hold bottles in a baby’s mouth as they could be dangerous as well.
Masters said the death of her baby will always “haunt” her, as she told Lincolnshire Live:
He was my world. He was always happy and smiling and he loved to make sure everyone was up early in the morning He turned me into a completely different person.
I loved being a mum. For as long as I can remember from being a really young age, I always wanted kids, a big family and to work in a nursery.
Never, ever, ever, bottle prop under any circumstances.
She added, “You could be put in this situation with your own child. I did it and thought it would never cause anything like this and I was supervising. But people can lose concentration.”