Police say that a 33-year-old Smyrna, Georgia woman’s last act was to save the life of her infant daughter by hiding her in a toilet and covering it with her body.
According to Atlanta’s WSB Radio, Jessica Arrendale’s partner and father of her 6-month-old daughter Cobie attacked her with a baseball bat and then an assault rifle, shooting her through the head.
As she fell, dying, Arrendale reportedly dropped the baby into the bowl of the toilet of the bathroom where she was trapped and covered the infant with her body. Police found the baby alive, but suffering from a head wound some 13 hours later when they stormed the apartment on Sunday.
Arrendale’s mother, Teresa Inniello, told WSB that last Saturday evening, Arrendale and the baby’s father, Antoine Davis, 30, went out to dinner and began to argue. Davis got drunk and when they arrived home, the argument escalated.
The New York Daily News said that Davis, a Marine veteran of the Iraq War, attacked Arrendale with a baseball bat some time around midnight. Forensic investigators believe that she barricaded herself in the bathroom, at which point, Davis got an assault rifle he kept on the premises.
Authorities believe that he kicked in the bathroom door and began firing at Arrendale, who stood there holding their baby.
“He shot her and they (police) don’t know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction,” Ionniello said to WSB.
“She had pure will,” Ionniello said. “She wanted that baby to live.”
Davis then went into the baby’s room and turned the weapon on himself. He was long dead when police arrived.
“She was the hero,” Ionniello said, “because her last breath was saving the child.”
Baby Cobie had been lying in the water for about 13 hours when police finally burst into the apartment. They had been reluctant to rush the residence for fear that the move would spark Davis to hurt Arrendale or the baby, not realizing that the violence had already occurred.
The couple had a history of domestic violence and Ionniello said she did not know why her daughter stayed with her abuser for as long as she did.
The baby was found with an injury to the head which police believe was caused by the baseball bat. She was hospitalized, but Ionniello said she is looking forward to being able to take her grandchild home to live with her sister, Arrendale’s 15-year-old daughter.
Friends and family have raised $8,000 to offset the expense of Arrendale’s funeral and to provide care for Cobie.