PLEASANT VIEW (ABC4 News) – The family of a nearly 6-month-old baby is facing emotions of shock, anger, and devastation after his father confessed to police to causing his fatal head injuries Saturday.
According to probable cause statements, West Valley City Police were dispatched Friday to the Boulder Pines Apartments on a call of a baby not breathing.
The infant, Deyvion, was taken to the ICU at Primary Children’s Hospital, where he later died from his head injuries that included bruising, brain hemorrhaging, and fractures to the skull.
“He was just always happy, always laughing any time he was around any of us. I still hear his voice and his laugh. I just saw him on Tuesday before all of this happened,” said Jamie McCrae, Deyvion’s maternal grandmother. “I have a hole in my heart that I don’t think I could ever recover. It’s been really hard. There’s so much more that I think I could’ve done, but there wasn’t.”
Police said the baby’s father, Shawn Malik Johnson initially lied that his autistic brother was the one who caused Deyvion’s injuries because he didn’t want to go to jail. But later admitted to throwing a metal bottle at the baby’s head, striking him in the back of the head with a closed fist, and dropping him 15 feet from a swing set on a concrete curb.
McCrae said her family knew Johnson had a history of anger problems but didn’t think he was capable of harming his own son.
“He didn’t want anybody’s help. We tried to talk to him when he was being aggressive and abusive to my daughter. He never thought that he was doing anything wrong,” said McCrae. “He wasn’t ready to be a dad and we kind of knew this. But my daughter was the sole caretaker of him, majority of the time. Every time he needed to take care of Deyvion, he was upset and frustrated. He still acted like a kid.”
She said she’s speaking out to memorialize her grandson and to warn others to say something when seeing warning signs of child abuse.
“I have to be strong for my family. I have to be Deyvion’s voice so that he can get justice and so we can have closure,” said McCrae. “For others, if you see red flags or suspect someone’s doing something to their own child, speak up.”
Johnson faces charges of child abuse homicide and obstruction of justice. He is currently being held at the Salt Lake County Jail.
McCrae said her family is preparing for Deyvion’s viewing on Monday. If you would like to help with funeral expenses, you can donate to their family’s GoFundMe here.