Leave Feedback

Sudden death still haunts her

Tom Jackson • Dec 27, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Jennifer Spurlock still has nightmares about the terrible day two years ago when she and a boyfriend found their baby dead in the bed with them.

She has a message for parents who think it’s convenient to have their baby sleep next to them: Don’t do it.

“I want his death to save somebody else’s baby,” said Spurlock, 24, referring to the death of Cameron Coleman, who was 7 weeks old.

“It just pretty much ruined my entire life” said Spurlock, who has received treatment for depression. “Since my son died, my life has been hell. I can’t seem to put it together”

Spurlock said she found it convenient to let Cameron sleep next to her because she put a pacifier in his mouth to quiet him.

“No matter how much it’s convenient for you, don’t let him sleep with you,” she said.

On Dec. 27, 2011, Spurlock, a Sandusky native who still lives here, remembers sleeping with her boyfriend, Eris Coleman, with Cameron between them. She got up to use the bathroom.

When she returned, she asked Coleman to move the baby over so she would have room to get back into bed.

The couple realized something was wrong. It became more horrifying when Spurlock turned on the light. The baby had blood on his nose and his eyes were partially open.

Cameron was rushed to Firelands Regional Medical Center, but doctors could not save him.

“Everything he had for Christmas, we had to take back and use the money for the funeral” Spurlock said.

She said she wants to tell the community she hasn’t forgotten the donations people made so her son could have a decent funeral.

“I appreciate every donation” she said.

It wasn’t the end of Spurlock’s troubles. Three weeks after the death, Eris Coleman was sent to prison for aggravated assault, drug possession and drug trafficking. He’s currently being held at a state prison in Mansfield, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction.

A police investigation found no indication of foul play, no sign the baby was abused and no evidence the parents were intoxicated. An autopsy listed the manner of death as “Undetermined — death with co-sleeping with parents” Spurlock said she phoned Erie County’s coroner, Brian Baxter, who told her the baby was apparently smothered but that authorities can’t determine exactly what happened.

“His nose was bleeding. That means lack of oxygen,” she said.

Pete Schade, Erie County’s health commissioner, said the department continues to try to warn everyone about co-sleeping. Health educators and nurses at the department try to raise the issue with every prenatal patient and WIC mom who walks through the doors, he said.

He said safe sleep also is often brought up at staff meetings. “It’s a constant conversation we have” he said. Spurlock said she decided to speak out to warn other parents about the danger of co-sleeping.

“People think it will never happen to them,” she said. “I want his death to save somebody else’s baby”

Recommended for You