99: Shaken

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Tonia Miller lost control and shook her baby to death. That’s what prosecutors said. Miller denied it, but a Michigan jury wasn’t convinced and convicted her of murder. At 19 years old, Miller was separated from her family, sent to prison and found herself having lost something else: her life.

Over 13 years later, those who knew the young family are haunted by moments when the child showed signs something was wrong during the short time she was alive. According to medical experts, authorities may have foreclosed the possibility that the death was the result of something other than murder—birth trauma, an accident or illness. 

This shaken-baby syndrome investigation was reported by The Medill Justice Project, an award-winning national investigative journalism center based at Northwestern University that examines potentially wrongful convictions and criminal justice issues.




Production Notes

Shaken was a co-production with The Medill Justice Project and was reported by Adele Humbert and Taylor Mullaney with production by Adele Humbert and editing by Alec Klein and Amanda Westrich. Our Senior Producer is Tony Gannon. Our Post Production Editors are Kirsten Jusewicz-Haidle and Rachael Cain.

We want to thank Allisha Azlan and Rachel Fobar, Medill Justice Project associates, and Anthony Settipani, former Medill Justice Project fellow for their help with the reporting and production of our story. 

Our engineers were Adam Yoffe at WBEZ in Chicago and Howard Gelman at KQED Radio in San Francisco. 

Music in this episode was from The Audio Network.