Johnston County infant taken off ventilator, 'doing wonderful'
Posted January 4
Updated January 6
Smithfield, N.C. — A 2-month-old infant found unresponsive by Johnston County authorities more than a week ago has been taken off of life-support and is showing signs of improvement, according to his mother.
Jaxen Jones was rushed to WakeMed Dec. 27 after Smithfield police officers were called to his home. Authorities say Jonathan Michael Jones, Jaxen's father, abused his son.
Brandy Carthen, Jaxen's mother, said Saturday that Jaxen is "doing amazing" and was taken off of a ventilator Friday. He remained in fair condition on Saturday.
"I even got to hold him for the first time Friday afternoon. I haven't held him in a week, and I usually hold him all day, every day. It was amazing," Carthen said. "He is definitely a fighter, and he's fighting his way back to be with mommy."
Carthen said doctors told her that Jaxen's brain was bleeding when he came to the hospital. He is also dealing with symptoms from shaken baby syndrome, doctors said.
"I was thinking of the worst. I never expected anything to get better. Based on everything that happened, I didn't really see him making it through," Carthen said. "He came a long way in a week. He's going to have a long road, but he can do it."
Sarah Aponte, who lives next door to Jones, was babysitting the infant when his father picked him up.
"When I handed him the baby he whined 'oh here we go again, this kid hates me,'" she said Monday.
He was back at her door less than five minutes later. The infant was not breathing.
"I told him 'what did you do, what did you do to him,'" she said. "He said 'I was just feeding him and he choked.'"
Smithfield police officers had to conduct life-saving measures until paramedics arrived.
Doctors found dried blood behind the infant's eyes, said prosecutors, who added that such is an indicator of previous abuse.
Although Carthen said Saturday that she isn't aware of any previous abuse, she admitted that Jonathan Jones has disciplined her other two children.
"He was an excellent dad. He took care of my other two children like they were his," she said. "He's disciplined the other two children. He has been kind of rough with them. I've spoken up. But I've never seen him physically abuse them. I've never seen it or been aware of it."
Carthen said she doesn't want to believe that Jones could have hurt his own child.
"I'm going on what the doctors are telling me, and it shows me that he did do it," she said. "Jaxen always cried with him, but the second I'd get him he stopped crying. That shows me Jaxen was crying for a reason. I'm not focused on (Jonathan Jones). I'm focused on my children."
Jonathan Jones is charged with intentional child abuse inflicting serious injury, and his bond amount was increased to $400,000 on Monday.
Prosecutors asked to raise the bond due to the possibility of more charges being filed based on the baby’s condition. Jones also asked for a court-appointed attorney. His next court date is Jan. 16.