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Billy Bob's Ex: Baby Tragedy Mirrors Liam's Wife

6/1/2009 11:37 AM PDT BY TMZ STAFF

Billy Bob ThortonBilly Bob Thornton's ex wife claims their daughter did nothing wrong during the events that led to the death of a 1-year-old child she was babysitting back in October -- and claims the incident was eerily similar to the death of Liam Neeson's wife.

TMZ spoke with Melissa Parish (former Melissa Gatlin), who told us her daughter Amanda Brumfield had "no reason" to call 911 when the baby fell from her playpen on that fateful night, because there were "no signs of distress. "

Parish compared the incident to the mysterious death of actress Natasha Richardson, who died a few days after a seemingly harmless fall while skiing, saying "When you have a situation that does not indicate distress ... there are no signs of distress, then there is no reason to immediately call police."

After the fall, Brumfield fell asleep with the child -- when she awoke hours later, the child's body was limp. Officials later determined the child died from a subdural hematoma caused by the fall.

Brumfield was later arrested and charged with child neglect.

Melissa told us Amanda was best friends with the baby's mother and was the baby's godmother -- and is devastated by what occurred.

45 COMMENTS

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16.

who has the facts? ME    

This seems like a tragic accident. Baby's DO bump their head all the time, it's hard to tell if it's serious or not. It's not like she intentionally shook the baby. I think we should not judge her too harshly, it could happen to anyone.
Billy Bob shows NO interest in his daughter, what kind of father is that?? What a jerk. Could you imagine having a rich and famous Hollywood actor for a father and he has NOTHING to do with you?? Poor girl. I'm sure she has got to be affected terribly by her father's abandonment - we should leave her alone. Her sperm donor is famous, not her.

1877 days ago
17.

Jennifer Bouldack    

Local news here ran a story recently about a book that is out about medical myths, commonly called "wives' tales," that are even
perpetuated sometimes by doctors when they either don't know anything else to tell people, or they simply don't want to argue with people and just want to let them think what they want to think when no harm is done by those thoughts.

One of those myths is that you must keep someone awake following a head injury to prevent them from going into a coma. According to this panel of doctors, that is a myth and serves no legitimate purpose. They said that if a person is going to go into a coma, it has nothing to do with whether they are asleep or not. People go into comas all of the time (and die) without ever having "gone to sleep." And keeping a person awake will not prevent it, or someone going to sleep will not cause it (or allow it).

They report this as akin to advice like not swimming immediately after eating, or going outside in the wet or cold leading to illness. (Only germs and bacteria cause illness, not weather.)

I know many of you will write back swearing that is what you are supposed to do, and give incidents where doctors told you
specifically to keep your loved one awake, or where your loved one went "to sleep" and died. The point of the book was that well-meaning doctors DO tell people that even though they, themselves, know it means nothing, and that your loved one would have slipped into a coma and died anyway.

I'm just passing along information here.

1877 days ago
18.

ObstinateB    


Whether or not she meant to neglect the child is irrelevant. As the sitter, it was her responsibility to at the very least, keep the child awake and call the parents for advice.

Natasha Richardson was offered medical attention and she rejected it. This baby wasn't capable of rejecting medical attention (or articulating symptoms), and medical attention wasn't offered; the two cases aren't comparable.

Though I'm sure the young girl accused is upset about it, and never intended harm, she should be held responsible for her neglect, because that's exactly what it was.

1877 days ago
19.

Anita    

I feel very bad for this young woman.
It seems like it was an accident and that's the chance people take when they turn their kids over to someone else.
Of course, it happens to parents too.

1877 days ago
20.

anon    

How does a one year old fall out of a playpen? That seems odd right there.

1877 days ago
21.

Anita    

Billy Bob sounds like a totally uncaring creep of a father!

Guess Angelina was smart not have kids with such a jerk, whatever else one might be able to say about her.

1877 days ago
22.

Joy    

well I'm thinking her babysitting days are over! lol

1877 days ago
23.

sb    

I know Amanda. She is a wonderful, caring person. She will be vendicated when all the facts are known. The press is going after her because of Billy Bob and that's not fair.

My child and my grandchildren have all suffered falls and other accidents as they were growing up. Not every fall or injury warrants an ambulance. There were no signs of distress after the fall. She didn't immediately let the baby go to sleep...the baby was playing and eating afterwards then eventually got sleepy, as all babies do.

Before you condem her, remember 'JUDGE NOT, LEST YE BE JUDGED.' It was a tragic accident that she will have to live with for the rest of her life. Give her a fair chance. Accidents happen. She would never intentionally hurt anyone, especially a child.

My deepest sympathy to the baby's family & loved ones.

1877 days ago
24.

myt23    

Sorry to say, but what happened to Natasha Richardson was cause to get her to neuro trauma center immediately. She had an epidural hematoma, which is an emergency. Survival depends on how fast she will be treated or whatever caused it.
This kid had a subdural hematoma. Symptoms can appear 24-48 hours later or 2 days to 2 weeks (depends on severity). If large, they will need surgery.

Not blaming Billy Bob's daughter cuz she might not have known. I just disagree with the not being in distress so don't call 911. They said something about the child having a bleeding tongue after the fall. Thats doesn't sound okay to me, but then again, she might not have known to call for help. In a epidural hematoma they lose consciouness, regain it, look okay, and then deteriorate in consciouness. I read somewhere about Natasha developing a headache later after her fall, and thats why they took her to the ambulance. My instructor told us about a teen who had a epidural hematoma and was saved within a few minutes of being treated. I'm sure if the head injury was serious, they usually have some kind of symptoms afterwards. The child was only 1 so he/she didn't know to say something is wrong so they don't appear in distress.

1877 days ago
25.

Dixie    

That baby should have been taken to the hospital after she/he fell out of that play pen.

1877 days ago
26.

Alexa    

Let's see. The child fell out of the playpen and her tongue was bleeding. Nope, it's not her child so no emergency here.

1877 days ago
27.

tawny    

First Natasha Richardson did NOT seek medical attention, which is one of the reasons noone knew she was bleeding in the head. and Second, times have changed. You do let a person who has hit their head rest because it allows the body time to heal. I know because when my hit got a concussion we kept that poor kid up until the ER staff told us, NO let him rest. As a mother of 3, I think this could certainly happen to ANYONE!

1877 days ago
28.

Ziggy    

I'm sorry for their loss, a baby's death is always a tragedy.

I think it's sad that they are going after this girl. I don't think she was a case of her being lazy or negligent. It was an accident. Kids fall all the time, if the baby showed no signs of distress, I would not have called 911 either. Honestly, my mother and father raised 6childrean, if they took us to the hospital every time one of us fell down, they would have been there every day.

1877 days ago
29.

Gina    

This is my cousins wife and she is the most loving, caring, and religous person I know. She DOES NOT do any type of drugs ever. She loved this child and it was her goddaughter. She would NEVER purposely hurt anyone least of all a child. So please get your facts straight before you start slaughtering someone without knowing the truth.

1877 days ago
30.

Gina    

I LOVE YOU AMANDA STAY STRONG..YOUR FAMILYS PRAYING FOR YOU

1877 days ago
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