Toddler Beaten To Death Because He Wouldn’t Stop Crying

Missouri mom Shelby Dasher, 20, has been charged with second-degree murder in the death of her 13 month old son Tyler Dasher. Dasher originally claimed her son had been abducted, telling police he was missing when she woke up in the morning. People walking their dog found his body later that day near a cemetery around a mile from their home. Dasher was arrested and later confessed that she beat him repeatedly because he wouldn’t stop crying, wouldn’t lay down and wouldn’t go back to sleep.

Reaction to the murder has been mixed. On the one hand, there are people like St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch saying that “it’s a pretty sick person.” In Facebook groups and other online forums, people are already making comparisons between Shelby Dasher and Casey Anthony, who was recently acquitted of murdering her two-year old daughter. On the other hand, people close to Dasher have been expressing disbelief and shock. The police have noted that there were no signs of past abuse. People close to Dasher have said that she was a loving, dedicated mother. On YouTube, one friend said that “she never put herself over Tyler … anyone who knows Shelby knows that Tyler was her first priority” and on twitter another friend expressed that “she would never do a thing like this, especially to her own child.”

No one knows what was going on in Shelby Dasher’s head when she beat Tyler to death. St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCulloch noted that Dasher was charged with second degree murder instead of first degree murder because of the lack of deliberation, i.e. “the difference between hot-blooded and cold-blooded murder.” McCulloch went on to explain that “raising a child can be frustrating. There are a myriad of ways to deal with that. This isn’t one of them” (source: ABC News).

McCulloch is right. Unfortunately, not all parents have the tools to be able to find other ways of dealing with the frustration in the heat of the moment. Feeling helpless as your baby cries and cries is what often leads to Shaken Baby Syndrome. This can be exacerbated if the mother is suffering from postpartum depression or if the parent or caregiver is overtired or stressed. People who are otherwise good parents can simply become overwhelmed, which can have fatal consequences if they don’t know how to handle it.

The PURPLE Crying campaign was created in an attempt to reduce the number of deaths that result from shaken baby syndrome or other acts of violence towards babies out of parental or caregiver frustration. The PURPLE campaign is trying to teach people that it is sometimes normal for babies to cry a lot.

Purple Crying

While it is worth looking for any medical reasons for the crying, parents do need to understand that it isn’t their fault that the baby is crying and they need to learn to cope with the crying and not get so frustrated that they end up hurting the baby. Parents need to find ways to get the help and support that they need and understand that it is better to put the baby down and walk away briefly to calm down and compose yourself, than it is to hurt the baby.

Parents who hurt their children are not simply horribly people. They are often overwhelmed and lacking the tools to cope. Campaigns like PURPLE Crying are trying to give parents the tools to get through those frustrating situations so that their babies don’t end up like Tyler Dasher.


Related stories:

Number of Children Who Die in Hot Cars Spikes: But Why?

Chinese Toddler Run Over and Ignored by Bystanders

Casey Anthony Acquitted of Murder, Manslaughter and Child Abuse

Infant Mortality Campaign Depicts Knife in Bed With Baby

Photo credit: storyvillegirl on flickr


Berenice Guedes de Sá

This is so disgusting and I beleive that this sometimes happen! We must change this situation!!

Marianne B.
Marianne B5 years ago

I for one am so sick of seeing this on the news daily. How can they do this to any baby, or worse, beat them to death?

Marna C.
Marna Cahn5 years ago

a crying child can push even the most evenly tempered person over the edge. sleep deprived, inexperienced new moms, who wake at even the slightest stirring of their baby get pushed into a corner. it's a crying shame that our country has come to the point of the loss of civility, and to top it off, women who aren't ready for kids are having them because our rights as women are being stripped from us.

Vicmar M.
Vicmar Medina5 years ago

A child is one of the most defenseless beings brought into this world. And while every situation and circumstance is different, we must constantly remind ourselves that their only way of
communication sometimes is thru crying. And as frustrating as that sounds, it takes time for them to adjust to you and vice versa. They are solely dependent on the parent to get their needs taken care of for the first couple of years after that it will depend mostly on how you raised them. Basically you reap what you sow.

Jason T.
Jason T5 years ago

It is unfortunate that this incident occurred.

As parents, we all know the frustration when your child will continue crying after an exhaustive set of actions are taken.

New parents need to feel that it is OK, after taking an exhaustive set of actions, to leave the baby in the cot for ½ an hour and let the baby cry.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam5 years ago

sick !!!

Mary Carpenter
Mary C5 years ago

I'm sorry, but classes won't help someone who is capable of murder.

Emily Drew
Emily Drew5 years ago

Sick, just sick. This women should die the same way her child did.

Billie C.
Billie C5 years ago

maybe parents to be should have classes on how to cope. it can be very hard and if you don't have a good backup and help you can go off the deep end very fast.
she needs to serve some time but i don't think life is it. she needs counseling to help her understand why she snapped.

L E E.
Lois E5 years ago

I truly hope they lock her up and throw away the key!