Baby Death Investigated As Fourth Homicide In Two Months

Saturday, May 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Police say it's horrifying statistic.

In just the last two months, Tulsa's child crisis unit has investigated four infant deaths as homicides.

Five month old Tavian Nathan died two weeks ago.

Initially, investigators thought he fell between a bed and a wall during the night.

But, a medical examiners report showed possible foul play.

"There were some red flags that developed in the investigation," says Detective Chris Witt.

So, on Thursday, Detective Witt asked Tavian's mother, 19-year-old Makesha Nathan, more questions.

According to police reports, Makesha confessed.

She says the baby was crying and fussier than usual. She picked Tavian up by one arm and dropped him between the bed and the wall, then left the baby in the room.

When she returned an hour and a half to two hours later Tavian was dead.

Nathan is now behind bars, booked on a first degree murder complaint.

Detective Witt says during the last few years, investigators have spent more time learning how to spot infant homicides.

"I don't know, necessarily, if the numbers are increasing, but there is more awareness," says Witt. "I think we look at them more closely than we ever have in the past."

Nearly all parents will tell you they've been very close to losing their temper with their infants. Family therapists say there is nothing wrong with learning how to control that anger.

Family and Children's Services of Tulsa says there are several parenting groups in town helping parents deal with the stress which comes with children.

"It's actually very honorable for parents to learn how to deal with these things. So they are teaching their children better skills," says Family Therapist Lucy Cianciolo.

But, therapists say it's not easy.

Tavian Nathan's great grandmother gave Tavian and his mother a home, and she says she tried to help.

Therapists say the best ways to deal with anger is to take five deep breaths, count to ten and take a time-out.

They also recommend hitting a pillow, listening to music or think about a peaceful place.