Grandmother of Peoria’s youngest homicide victim speaks out
PEORIA (25 NEWS) -The list of Peoria’s 2020-2021 homicide victims now includes a baby, just 23-days-old, who died nearly a month ago.
The Peoria County Coroner Jamie Harwood said it’s the youngest homicide victim in the city’s history.
Bonita Webster is the mother of 22-year-old Breannia Webster, who was taken to the hospital after being shot on the 200 block of W. Ann street Sept. 20.
Webster said her granddaughter Jamiyla Webster-Carlton was on life support after she was delivered at 25 weeks through C-section due to the injuries Breannia sustained.
Webster said the family decided to take the Jamiyla off life support and she died Oct.13 at 23 days old.
“She fought and we couldn’t hold on to her any longer because there was nothing else [or] amount of medicine or these doctors could do for her,” Webster said.
Webster also said Breannia is at about 50% of where she was before she was shot and although she can’t talk, she said Breannia can breathe on her own, laugh, smile, and is able to move her hands and legs.
Webster said Breannia is still in the hospital and has been since Sept. 20 and that she visits her everyday, but is heartbroken to see her daughter in her current condition and wants her back at 100%.
“It hurts because that’s my only daughter,” Webster said.
“I’m happy that I can see her face, but I want what we had before,” Webster said.
Webster added that Breanna is improving day by day, but she said they both continue to mourn the loss of Jamiyla.
“Some of the hardest parts are not over with with me losing my grandbaby,” Webster said.
Webster said her daughter got to see her baby for the first and final time.
“When they brought the baby over, she opened up her eyes so big,” Webster said.
“Her face [would] even go her red,” Webster continued.
“They put the baby up to her. She was kind of like kissing her forehead. She just held her lips up to her head for so long. And I know in my heart that she knows that the baby is gone,” she added.
Harwood said the public is just now learning about the baby’s death nearly one month later because the case was still active and ongoing by the Peoria Police Department, autopsy results weren’t ready and the sensitive nature of the case.
“The infant, the family and the mom is obviously still recovering at the hospital and things like that,” Harwood said.
“This is a very difficult time for them and we wanted to make sure that we had all of our information in the autopsy report before we made it released to the media,” he added.
Harwood also explains why the baby’s death has been ruled a homicide.
“The gestational age of the infant being greater than 20 weeks,” Harwood said.
“The second thing is we have to consider is whether whoever committed the act of violence knew that the person was pregnant, and those two variables play into those manner of death for us.”
Webster said the family did not hold a funeral for the baby because her mother wouldn’t have been able to go.
She also said she has not gotten any new information on the suspect who shot her daughter and said the family is still pleading for justice.
“It just hurts because you have people out there that’s ruining lives for nothing,” Webster said.
“If you think picking up a gun makes you tough, go sign up for the army, go sign up for the navy,” Webster said.
“Go fight a war and learn how to shoot a gun, get paid to shooting a gun. Why are you shooting innocent people?” Webster added.
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