Woman fights to regain custody after husband charged with abusing 7-week-old son

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tierria McDaniels will never forget the moment she saw the bruises on her 7-week-old son. 

The infant suffered a broken leg, head trauma and cracked ribs. Prosecutors charged her husband, Jamaal McDaniels, with child abuse this week. But she said the heartache of her son's injures was only the beginning of a battle she never imagined she would be facing.

"I pulled up his little sleeper, and I saw purple bruises over his leg and chest," Tierria said. "I just instantly cried."

She called her mother, and then rushed her son to Children's Mercy Hospital. 

"The detectives, the doctors, the social workers all kept saying (his) injuries didn't fit the story (I) was telling them," Tierria said. "I was just telling them what Jamaal told me happened."

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According to court documents, Jamaal was watching his son while Tierria was at work. Jamaal told investigators that he was bathing his son and was holding him extra tight because he almost dropped him.

The alleged abuse happened in early January. Prosecutors charged Jamaal McDaniels with child abuse on June 4.

According to Tierria, the Department of Family Services immediately placed her 7-week-old son and 4-year-old daughter in foster care while the investigation continued. Tierria said she lost custody of both children during a hearing in February in family court.

"That broke my heart," she said.

According to Tierria, some of her relatives testified she should have known that her husband might abuse the children. 

"I've beat myself up thinking, did I miss something, were there signs of a problem, and I can't think of anything," Tierria said. "I just got betrayed by my husband, and then family do you like that ... it's been a lot."

In May, the children were taken out of foster care and are now living with one of Tierria's relatives. Tierria has since had to have a psychological evaluation, a parenting evaluation and complete therapy. Now, the courts allow Tierria supervised visits with her children.

A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday to determine if Tierria will be allowed unsupervised visits with the kids.  She is seeking permanent custody.

"I'm doing everything I can to get my family back," she explained. "My kids are first before anything."

Tierria said she's had a lot of guilt after the alleged abuse, but now she's sleeping better.

"I would tell people to examine your kids, watch them, question them," Tierria added.

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