‘Why couldn’t I have known?’: Neighbor who tried to save 6-month-old NC girl speaks out

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Steven Dean and Morgan Conn

SHELBY, N.C. — A 6-month-old North Carolina girl who was severely abused died in the hospital, more than a month after being rushed to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, WSOC reports.

The infant’s father, 34-year-old Steven Dean, and her mother, 34-year-old Morgan Conn, remain in jail charged with felony child abuse and are being held on a $150,000 bail.

On March 24, neighbor Jenna Bullman said Dean frantically knocked on her door in hopes she could help his baby, Chloe. Bullman performed CPR until paramedics arrived.

As a nursing assistant, Bullman tried her best to resuscitate the baby, believing the child had suffered a seizure.

“I walked in, she was on the couch and she was laying there lifeless,” Bullman told WSOC. “It’s hard to look over there, it’s hard to look over there because I don’t know what happened. I just kept wishing that I could’ve seen her and talked to her, and just been there to tell her that I loved her just so she would’ve heard somebody say that she was loved.”

The Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office was called to Carolinas Medical Center to investigate what doctors believed to be a case of child abuse.

For more than a month, Bullman has been replaying the tragic day over and over again.

“Why couldn’t I have known? Why couldn’t I have had some sort of sixth sense that something was wrong?” Bullman said. “She was so tiny and she was so precious and so gorgeous, and you see her little face and I just can’t get it out of mind.”

After speaking with doctors, deputies obtained a warrant for 2008 Rehobeth Church Road in Shelby. Authorities arrested Dean and Conn.

“For somebody to do something like that, crushed me so bad to where I was angry. I was, you know, just every emotion that you can possibly think of is what I felt,” Bullman said.

“Cases involving children are always difficult,” said Cleveland County Sheriff Alan Norman. “Babies are at the mercy of their parents to take care of them and keep them safe. Unfortunately, this did not happen in this case. I would ask everyone to keep this baby in their thoughts and prayers as she continues to battle for her life.”

The couple had nine children ranging in age from infant to late teens. Other children in the home have been placed in the custody of the Department of Social Services.