Ocala babysitter charged with throwing, killing infant, deputies say

Nora Boles charged with first-degree murder

OCALA, Fla. – A 21-year-old Ocala woman threw an infant across the room, which resulted in his death, according to the Marion County Sheriff's Office.

Nora Boles was arrested Thursday and charged with first-degree murder in the death of 11-month-old John William Smith, who she was babysitting when he suffered the fatal injury to his head, reports show.

The baby's mother dropped him off with Boles on Sept. 5 on her way to work. She received a call at 4 p.m. from Boles, who said that the baby would not wake up, deputies said.

The child's mother took him to Monroe Regional Medical Center. The hospital staff alerted the Sheriff's Office because of the severity of the infant's head injury and because the "probability of abuse was high," according to the report.

After he was transferred to University of Florida Health Shands Hospital, the baby boy died on Sept. 6. 

Smith suffered severe head trauma including multiple skull fractures, bruising on his brain and bruising on his throat, deputies said. He was brain-dead when his mother decided to discontinue life support. 

Deputies said Boles changed her story about what happened to John during the investigation. She first claimed that two children were roughhousing in the living room when they accidentally knocked into the baby boy, causing him to fall and hit his head on a toy garbage truck that was on the floor, deputies said.

Boles also claimed the boy hit his head on the floor in another room, fell off the bed while taking a nap and hit his head on a dresser because she tripped while holding him, according to an incident report. Deputies said Boles appeared to be upset about what happened the child.

The child's mother told deputies that she had been in contact with Boles throughout the day, advising the babysitter, who she'd found through the Ocala Sitters Exchange Facebook page, on when the child was napping and eating.

When Boles contacted the boy's mother around 4 p.m., she said the baby was pale, limp, unresponsive and she was unable to open his eyes, an incident report said.

She later admitted to deputies that "she had become frustrated with the child and thrown him across the room, causing the fatal head injury," according to the Sheriff's Office. She claimed it was an accident because she meant for him to land in a nearby recliner, but instead he fell on the floor, deputies said.

After the case was reviewed by a grand jury, Boles was charged with first-degree murder.

Boles was arrested Thursday. She is being held without bond in the Marion County Jail.

Following the arrest, Smith's aunt spoke out about the death of her nephew.

"He was just happy all the time and loved everybody. I mean, we don't have a single picture where he doesn't just have this huge, wide grin and we're just so confused," Lizzie Smith said. 

It's been five months since she said goodbye to her nephew. A lover of the Ninja Turtles, she said her nephew was everything to her sister.

"She was a good mom. The father wasn't in the picture, unfortunately. But she stepped up and she worked. She took care of him. She loved him so much and it's just, that's why it's so hard for her to talk about it right now," Smith said.

The affidavit said Boles watched the baby a few times before the incident happened.

"My sister, she swore up and down she was taking good care of him. She loved John. We never had any reason to doubt otherwise," Smith said. "She could have put him down and walked away and now we have to live with that forever".

News 6 went to Boles' home where she lived with the people who had raised her since she was two years old.

The affidavit lists Debra and Alan Boles as her parents. 

"We'll get through it because she did nothing intentional. It was an awful, awful unfortunate accident. And that's exactly what it was, an accident and an awful outcome," Debra Boles said.

Debra Boles said her daughter is innocent.

She said the family is praying not just for them, but for the Smith family as well.

"I prayed for them. I haven't spoke to them but I pray for them. That's all you can do. I mean, the loss of a child, I mean a child being in jail is detrimental but a loss of a child to me is unfathomable. I couldn't imagine so I pray for them," Debra Boles said.

Smith has a message for parents the next time they're searching for a babysitter.

"I hope everybody takes what's happened not only John but other children here in this county lately and they start doing background checks. Go as far back as you can. If they don't want to pay for it or they don't want to apply don't let them watch your children," Smith said.

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