Monday, July 1, 2019 the N.C. Dept. of Health and Human Services Chief Medical Examiners Office released the autopsy report concluding the death of 1-year-old Torrance Adams ruled as a homicide.
The cause of death to the 22-month old infant has been determined “blunt force trauma of head” per the autopsy report that was released on Monday. The forensic diagnosis listed a number of contributing injuries in this horrific incident as factors leading to the death of the infant.
- Blunt force injury of head
- Left periorbital abrasion and contusion (Black eye)
- Deep scalp and cranial periosteal hemorrhage
- Occipital bone linear skull fracture
- Bilateral subdural hemorrhage
- Diffuse cerebral edema
- Bilateral retinal and optic nerve hemorrhages
- Abraded contusion of back
- Acute pneumonia
The report states there to have been no natural disease or congenital abnormality causative of or contributory to death of the infant child.
The 22-month-old male infant child showed an unremarkable birth history according to his medical record without any significant medical history relevant to previous injury. He was in a general and positive state of health until Valentine’s Day of 2019 when he sustained the head trauma that is now determined his cause of death. The infant was taken to WakeMed Hospital where it was there that imaging determined occipital skull fracture and bilateral subdural hemorrhages.
He was transferred to the intensive care unit where his clinical status continued to decline, and he was pronounced dead on Saturday, February 16, 2019 with his family at his side.
According to Law Enforcement, Torrance was in the care of a family friend who has since been identified as the infant child’s mother’s now ex-boyfriend, Michael Buchannan. It was initially reported that Torrance was observed to have stopped breathing after choking on a waffle, after which Emergency Medical Services were summoned. Upon extensive additional investigative interviews, a possible slip in the sink while being washed several hours before the choking incident was offered as an explanation for the child’s injuries. The child reportedly did not cry and had no symptoms or loss of consciousness.
The autopsy documented a small-for-age male toddler with no congenital abnormality or natural disease causative of or contributory to death. Blunt force head injuries included periorbital ecchymoses and abrasions/contusions of the face.
He had an occipital bone fracture that extended into the posterior fossa of the skull base. Both are in the rear of the skull. He also had deep scalp and periosteal skull hemorrhage at two separate locations. The brain was diffusely edematous. Microscopic examination of the eyes showed bilateral retinal and optic nerve hemorrhages. Toxicological testing detected ketamine which is a substance consistent with administration during an attempted resuscitation supporting earlier reports that the infant required life saving measures.
“Based on investigative findings, the autopsy, toxicological report, and circumstances surrounding the death, as currently understood, it is our opinion that the cause of death is blunt force injury of the head.” said the Chief Medical Examiner in the autopsy report.
The conflicting reports of traumatic incidents do not satisfactorily explain or correlate with the reported timeline of symptoms and autopsy findings. Accordingly, the manner of death has been classified as a homicide.
There is no upcoming court date listed at this time for Buchanan in the NC Courts database. The Onslow Beat reached out to the Wake Co. District Attorney’s Office for an update on possible calendar date of when the trial will begin and could not receive a response by deadline.
#JusticeForYaya is a hashtag that can help easily access updates on this case over social media outlets.
PREVIOUS: EXCLUSIVE UPDATE: 9-11 Call for 1-year-old Torrance Adams Wake-Med reports suspected abuse by moms boyfriend
(Wake Co., NC)-On (Valentine’s Day) Feb. 14, Raleigh Police Department officers responded to WakeMed due to a suspected child abuse incident. Torrance Adams, a 1-year-old male-child, had stopped breathing earlier in the day and was transported to the hospital.
The child’s mother said she received a call to rush home from work with reports of her son choking and not breathing. The paramedics resuscitated baby Torrance and it seemed that he was stable at that time until soon after arriving at WakeMed. After arriving at WakeMed, the child’s heart rate began to drop at an alarming rate without explanation, he had been stabilized again and rushed in for a CT scan. From the CT scan report, it was discovered that the child had sustained a skull fracture while in the care of Michael Buchanan. Follow-up investigation led detectives to secure a warrant charging Buchanan, age 24 with intentional child abuse inflicting bodily injury and at that time was being held on a $150,000 bond that was increased to $2M.
THE 9-11 Call from WakeMed:
The 911 call concerning the incident has been uploaded below with full, original audio as released by authorities. As required by § 132-1.4 and/or §143-518, information has been redacted from the attached call and the audio has been altered to disguise the caller’s natural voice per NC 9-11 recording laws.
The extent of the physical damages to 1-year-old Torrance Adams skull was deemed purposeful and no way to have been accidental. The family remained optimistic during that dark time since the child responded to touch, was moving and breathing on his own. Friday, Torrance suffered a seizure and was taken off of sedation medication, he became non-responsive, wasn’t breathing independently and was placed on life support. A second CT scan was ordered and completed to find there was a tremendous amount of swelling taking place on his brain and the family was then informed by the respiratory therapist that it didn’t look like Torrance would make it through.
Adams died from his injuries on Sat. Feb.16, 2019. RPD homicide detectives conferred with the District Attorney’s office and charges have been upgraded to murder with NO BOND in connection with Adams’ death.
Adams mother, Quise McCall reported to The Onslow Beat that Buchanan called her from jail “at least 10 times”. McCall stated, “I answered and hung up the first time, he apologized and asked how he was, then asked me to help him find a bondsman. I just hung up and didn’t answer again.”
Like most families, no parents expect to have to bury an infant child or child at all with hopes that the children will out live them. Being such an unforseen, sudden tragedy, the family is seeking donations to help with the cost of burial. They are close to the goal, if you see fit to donate, an online fundraiser is still available: GoFundMe YaYa Strong .