Palm Bay police arrest mother more than a year after 10-month-old baby’s death

Takhari Williams died on Nov. 15, 2020, records show

Shanquila Beckham-Williams, 28 (Copyright 2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

PALM BAY, Fla. – Palm Bay police arrested a mother Tuesday more than a year after her 10-month-old baby died from “battered baby syndrome,” according to the medical examiner.

Shanquila Beckham-Williams, 28, was arrested on Tuesday afternoon and is now being held without bond at the Brevard County jail.

According to police, officers were called to a home at 2123 Washington St. NE on Nov. 15, 2020 for reports of a 10-month-old — Takhari Williams — who was found unresponsive. The boy was rushed to the hospital where he later died, records show.

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Detectives spoke with the boy’s mother after his death, according to police. Beckham-Williams told investigators that she was in her bedroom and that the 10-month-old was on the floor, according to the probable cause affidavit. The mother said the boy tipped over, hit his head and began to cry, according to police.

Beckham-Williams said she then placed the boy in his walker, but the child began gasping for air and then stopped breathing, records show. Police said the woman told them she then ran to a neighbor to ask for help before calling 911. The mother said that she and the neighbor performed CPR on the baby until first responders arrived, according to the affidavit.

Detectives said they were present for the baby’s autopsy on Nov. 17 at the medical examiner’s office and observed what appeared to be bruising on the child’s head and body.

According to the affidavit, the medical examiner then sent investigators the autopsy findings on May 18, 2021. The medical examiner ruled the cause of death as “battered baby syndrome with negligence and complications,” calling the death a homicide.

On Nov. 12, detectives said they questioned Beckham-Williams again. The woman denied ever seeing any bruises on the baby’s body whenever the boy was watched by someone else and then returned to her, according to the affidavit, and further denied ever seeing her other child — a boy who was 2 years old at the time of the baby’s death — ever hit or hurt the 10-month-old.

According to investigators, Beckham-Williams failed to the child with care and supervision. She faces a charge of aggravated manslaughter of a child.


About the Author:

Thomas Mates is a digital storyteller for News 6 and ClickOrlando.com. He also produces the podcast Florida Foodie. Thomas is originally from Northeastern Pennsylvania and worked in Portland, Oregon before moving to Central Florida in August 2018. He graduated from Temple University with a degree in Journalism in 2010.