Girl dies 13 years after father shook her as newborn; dad charged in her death

WILKINSBURG, PA (WTAE/CNN) - A Pennsylvania man who served 10 years in prison for shaking and leaving his newborn daughter with brain damage is wanted on a charge of homicide after the girl’s death at the age of 13.

Allegheny County Police have issued an arrest warrant for 37-year-old Ariden Jackson, who in 2007 pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and other counts in a case related to his daughter Janiya Jackson.

Janiya had been left with permanent brain damage after her father shook his then-4-week-old daughter in 2005. Since being injured, the girl lived with seizures and developmental delays as a result of the brain trauma.

Janiya Jackson died in February at the age of 13. A family friend who raised her for five years says she was loved by everyone, liked to laugh and smile and did well in her special education classes. (Source: Family photos/WTAE/Hearst/CNN)
Janiya Jackson died in February at the age of 13. A family friend who raised her for five years says she was loved by everyone, liked to laugh and smile and did well in her special education classes. (Source: Family photos/WTAE/Hearst/CNN) (Source: Family photos/WTAE/Hearst/CNN)

An autopsy determined that complications from Janiya’s seizure disorder caused her February death, which was ruled a homicide.

"I feel that it wasn’t fair to her to be shaken. He basically went to jail, and then, he got out – he’s a free man. Then, next thing I know, she passes away,” said LeShaun Byrd, a family friend who raised Janiya for the past five years.

Byrd says despite her seizure disorder, repeat trips to the hospital and many medications, the teenager liked to laugh and smile. She also did well in her special education classes.

"I knew Janiya since she was 2 years old. She’s been loved by everybody: classmates, the community and all that knew her,” Byrd said.

While Byrd was out of town visiting family in February, his girlfriend, Annie Howard, called, alerting him that Janiya wouldn’t wake up and wasn’t breathing. Howard and a neighbor attempted to revive her, as they called 911, but the 13-year-old was declared dead after being taken to the hospital.

"She was loved. She was truly loved. She was a kid that made you laugh. She had a smile that would brighten the world,” Howard said.

Ariden Jackson, 37, served 10 years in prison for shaking and leaving his then-newborn daughter with brain damage. He faces a homicide charge in the girl's death at the age of 13. (Source: Allegheny County Police/WTAE/Hearst/CNN)
Ariden Jackson, 37, served 10 years in prison for shaking and leaving his then-newborn daughter with brain damage. He faces a homicide charge in the girl's death at the age of 13. (Source: Allegheny County Police/WTAE/Hearst/CNN) (Source: Allegheny County Police/WTAE/Hearst/CNN)

Police released a statement asking that anyone who sees Jackson call their tip line or 911. The man, who was released from prison in September 2016 after serving nearly 10 years in prison, faces a homicide charge in his daughter’s death.

"I think justice will be served on her behalf. I truly believe justice will be served because she could’ve had a bright future ahead of her,” Howard said.

Copyright 2019 WTAE, Hearst, Family photos, Allegheny County Police via CNN. All rights reserved.