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Abused infant dies, suspect arrested
FORT WALTON BEACH - Homicide charges are pending for a Fort Walton Beach man accused of abusing his infant daughter. William Thomason was arrested Saturday. Eight-week-old Braelyn Thomason died last night.
When an ambulance brought 8-week-old Braelyn Thomason to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center, she had bruises on her legs, chest and neck. She had a broken collarbone and hemorrhages in both retinas.
William Thomason admits being the only one home with his daughter Friday afternoon.
When deputies asked about her injuries, he offered explanations like "The dog was responsible" or "Maybe she struck her head on the faucet".
Neighbor Gloria Donaldson "This whole thing is just a tragedy for everybody."
Gloria Donaldson has known Thomasaon since he was a child, and she was his little league coach. She speaks highly of his grandparents, who own a business down the road. Thomason and the baby's mother were living in the building next door to it.
Neighbor Carolyn Davis "Such terrible feelings when you know it's your own son or grandson and you loved him so much. Billy was well-loved."
Carolyn Davis is shocked and sad. Thomason and her grandson were fast friends as children. She simply can't understand what happened in that house.
Carolyn "(sighs) How could you not know what you were doing?"
Deputies found evidence of broken capillaries called Petechia on the baby's neck and eyes....this photo is a mild example of the condition. They say Braelyn's injuries are consistent with "Shaken baby with sudden impact".
Gloria Donaldson "Billy will have to pay a price for this if in fact he is guilty of shaking that baby. And I hope that's not the case, but Billy will have to live with that from now on"
Laura Hussey "I've spoken several times to Braelyn's mother's family. They hope people will take whatever caution they can from this story. They just don't want to see it happen to any other family."
William Thomason is currently in the medical unit of the Okaloosa County Jail. The State Attorney's Office is waiting for the Medical Examiner's ruling before filing additional charges.