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Family says shaken baby has long road to recovery

HARRISBURG (WSIL) — A father of a 3-month-old in Harrisburg is in the Saline County Jail, accused of aggravated battery, a Class 3 felony, against the child.

Family members said Brandon Ford shook his baby causing critical injuries. 

Bryson Ford is known as a happy baby, but now he is hooked up to IV’s and machines inside a hospital in St. Louis. 

Harrisburg residents Linda and Jeff Gunning are Bryson’s grandparents, and they said they never would have dreamed their grandson would be a victim of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

"I didn’t think he would ever do something like this and then all of a sudden it just happens," Jeff said. "I don’t know what to think anymore."

Linda said Ford had issues holding down a job. 

"Never did I anticipate that anger being put into a 3-month-old baby," she said.

Jeff Gunning said his daughter, Kendrea Gunning, and Ford have been together since the summer of 2018. Bryson was born on March 19.

According to the Gunnings, Ford told the emergency room his son rolled off the couch.

"But that was really fishy to all of us because Bryson is not rolling over yet, so how do you roll off a couch when you’re not rolling over yet?" Linda said. 

Linda said last Tuesday evening, her daughter called her to tell her Bryson wouldn’t stop crying and he wouldn’t take a pacifier or bottle.

Shortly after, Bryson started seizing and Kendrea called 911.

After Bryson was taken by ambulance to Harrisburg Medical Center, he was then airlifted to Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis, where doctors told them he was critically injured.

"They told us it was not a case of rolling off the couch, that this was a case of shaken baby," Jeff said. 

Hours after Bryson was airlifted, Ford was taken into custody by the Harrisburg Police Department and charged with aggravated battery of a child.

"I can’t imagine someone shaking a baby out of anger so hard that you can do this amount of damage," Linda said. 

While Bryson is fighting for his life at Cardinal Glennon, his father is being held inside the Saline County Jail.

"I hear several people say, I’m sure he (Brandon) didn’t mean to do it," Linda said. "But a drunk driver doesn’t get in a car with the intention of going to hurt somebody trying to get home, but it happens anyway."

Katlin Gunning is Bryson’s aunt. 

She said she met Brandon Ford a couple weeks after her sister started dating him, but he is now worthless to her.

"This is supposed to be somebody that she (my sister) loves and trust and he has does the unthinkable to her," Katlin said. 

Katlin said she remembers Bryson always being such a happy, laughing baby. 

"You expect to see the nephew that you know, but instead you see a lifeless little child that looks nothing like you’re used to," Katlin said. 

Bryson has been in a medically induced coma for days, but is slowly being taking off some of the seizure medicine. 

Doctors have already told the Gunnings it will be months of recovery for Bryson.

"They said the Bryson we knew before he went in there, is not the Bryson we are going to get back," Jeff said. 

"We are praying for a miracle," Linda said "We want a miracle."

The Gunnings want others to speak up if they see something unusual, so another family doesn’t have to go through this hard time. 

"If you have any indication that something is going on, trust your heart, trust your instincts," Linda said.

Brandon is currently at the Saline County Jail being held on $15,000 cash bond. 

His next court date is set for July 25. 

The family has started fundraising for Bryson’s medical bills. 

You can purchase a t-shirt through the family’s Facebook page by clicking here. 

The family is also selling decals for Bryson which you can purchase by clicking here

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