MARSHALL — Investigators believe a Madison County mother accused of murdering her infant daughter shook the baby violently, causing a fatal brain injury.
Brandi Rae Cochran, 25, was charged with the offense Sunday by officers with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.
In her first court appearance Monday at the Madison County Courthouse, Cochran told reporters, “I didn’t do it.”
Cochran’s 6-month-old daughter, Kali Cochran, died Friday night from traumatic brain injuries. Investigators believe the injuries happened Tuesday night at Brandi Cochran’s home at 67 Fred Anderson Drive near Hot Springs.
“It appears to be shaken baby syndrome,” Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Michael Garrison said Monday.
A preliminary report from an autopsy that was performed Monday at a medical examiner’s office in Winston-Salem stated the cause of death was subdural hematoma — bleeding on the brain that creates pressure, compressing brain tissue.
Investigators have been talking with area social services departments and law enforcement agencies to see if Cochran was the subject of any previous child abuse investigations, Garrison said. The Madison County Social Services Department has no open cases with the family.
“We haven’t been able to substantiate anything like that,” Garrison said.
Sheriff Buddy Harwood said another person was in the home when the alleged abuse occurred, but officers are still working to determine if the person witnessed the incident.
Cochran, who is divorced, is the mother of another child who lives in the home, investigators said.
Cochran called 911 at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday to report her daughter was having trouble breathing. The child was airlifted to Johnson City Medical Center in Tennessee.
Medical staff at the hospital notified the Madison County Sheriff’s Office that the child possibly was the victim of child abuse, Harwood said. Later that night, the infant was flown to East Tennessee Children’s Hospital in Knoxville.
Kali Cochran died at the Knoxville hospital late Friday night.
Her mother is being held without bond at the Madison County Detention Facility