Couple Charged in Toddler's Shaking Syndrome Death

The aunt and uncle of a 2-year-old girl were charged with murder Tuesday after coroner's officials attributed the toddler's death last week to shaken baby syndrome, authorities said.

Oneisha Phiffer of Palmdale was pronounced dead at 7 p.m. Thursday at Loma Linda University Medical Center, said Randy Emon, supervising deputy coroner for the San Bernardino County coroner's office. The little girl had been transferred to the San Bernardino County hospital from a local hospital where she was taken June 16 in extremely critical condition, authorities said. She was suffering from current and past trauma injuries and remained on life support for two days until she died.

Authorities said Oneisha was under the care of Juanita Phiffer, 41, and Robert Porter, 28. Phiffer and Porter were arrested June 16--Phiffer on suspicion of child abuse and Porter on suspicion of child neglect, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Angie Prewett.

The charges against the Palmdale couple were increased Tuesday after the coroner's ruling. Phiffer and Porter are scheduled to appear in court in downtown Los Angeles on July 2, Prewett said.

Shaken baby syndrome occurs when a person holds a baby under the arms, face to face, and shakes the child violently in a mostly horizontal motion.

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