White Plains resident Nija Woodbury, age 23, was sentenced to six months in prison on Monday, Feb. 5 for assaulting a baby in her care while employed as a nanny, the Westchester County District Attorney's Office announced.
According to the DA's Office, at around 5 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2023, Woodbury had been employed as a nanny for a family from Mount Pleasant.
While working, she aggressively shook and bounced the 3-month-old victim without supporting his head. After putting him back into his crib, the victim's mother saw her child in a strange position on the baby monitor and quickly realized he was seizing in addition to turning blue and unresponsive. The mother then called 911, prompting first responders to rush to the home.
Woodbury was present when help arrived and told first responders nothing about what she had done to the baby, according to the DA's Office.
The child was then taken to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, where he continued to seize and vomit. CT scans performed at the hospital eventually revealed that the child had suffered bilateral subdural hematomas and bilateral retinal hemorrhages, which are signs of a shaken baby.
The boy was then treated for abusive head trauma for a week in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Following the incident, the DA's Office searched Woodbury's cell phone and was able to find deleted text messages from earlier in the day that showed her frustration that the boy would not stop crying. When authorities confronted her about these messages, Woodbury admitted to Mount Pleasant Police that she had bounced and shaken the baby in a way she knew had been unsafe.
Woodbury was later arrested on Jan. 13, 2023, and pleaded guilty to reckless assault of a child on July 27, 2023. After her term, she will also have to serve five years of probation.
In a statement made to the court, the baby's mother expressed disgust at Woodbury's actions.
"Before this event, I never thought that someone was capable of doing this...I used to always believe that people are innately good and that I can trust my intuition–I now no longer feel that way," she said.
The mother continued, "I have dealt with the overwhelming guilt about allowing Nija in my home and being responsible for introducing her to what I hold most dear, my precious baby. It will never feel like there is justice for what she has done and put our family through.”
Anyone else with information about other possible victims of such abuse is asked to call the DA’s Office Child Abuse Bureau at (914) 995-3000.
Click here to follow Daily Voice North Salem and receive free news updates.