Infant who survived attack could go home soon

Published 7:20 pm Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The infant whose father tried to drown her in a pond before Lincoln County deputies shot and killed him has been upgraded to fair condition.

The child’s mother, Shey Hooks, hasn’t left two-month-old Akiya’s side at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson since the April attack.

“When they first carried her in, they said she had a 20 percent chance of surviving,” Akiya’s great-grandmother, Edna Hooks, said. “But so far, she’s improving every day. Everybody is calling her the miracle baby.”

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Doctors put a breathing tube in the infant’s throat Tuesday. Next, surgery is scheduled this week to put in a feeding tube and say Akiya could go home a week later.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation is still investigating the shooting. Sheriff Steve Rushing said he is confident it will be ruled justifiable.

Deputies received a call April 21 from Hooks’ family, saying the baby’s father, 25-year-old Curtney Gayten, was trying to harm her.

The first deputy on the scene saw Gayten holding a gun, but not the baby. Rushing said Gayten was “apparently” holding the baby under water. The deputy, who has not been named but has since returned to work, fired one shot, killing Gayten.

Emergency personnel were able to revive Akiya.

Gayten’s family in Bogue Chitto could not be reached for comment.

The attack on her child and shooting of her boyfriend shook Shey Hooks so badly that she was admitted to the hospital at the same time as her child, her family said.

“It hurt her heart so bad, but she’s doing a little better than she was,” Edna Hooks said.

Shey Hooks’ other children, a 6-year-old and a 3-year-old, have visited her and their sister at the hospital.