Sign the Imschweiler Petition!

In 2018, tragedy came to the Imschweiler family.

Tom and Laura’s four-month-old baby Franklin contracted a severe case of hand foot and mouth disease, which caused him to exhibit a 104° fever. The baby was also experiencing issues keeping food down. A doctor however, reassured the Imschweiler family that the virus would run its course.

On the night of July 17 2018, however, the situation deteriorated into the worst possible outcome. Baby Franklin woke up several times requiring care, and Tom got up again to comfort and feed the baby. While Tom was preparing a bottle for Franklin, his baby slumped over on the couch he had been propped up on, and was found by Tom face down in a pillow, not breathing and unresponsive.

Tom performed CPR and called for help, but it was too late. Investigators then discovered the classic “shaken baby syndrome triad” of subdural bleeding, retinal bleeding, and brain swelling. Tom was arrested and charged with murder. Despite the evidence debunking the shaken baby syndrome diagnosis, investigators assumed the triad proved a crime had taken place. They postulated that Tom must have lost his temper with the fussy baby repeatedly waking up, and violently abused his child in response.

Meanwhile, the multiple alternative explanations for the triad were left uninvestigated. According to retired pathologist Dr. Douglas Smith, other possible explanations include the viral illness baby Franklin contracted. Such viral illness can cause “cerebral sinus venous thrombosis,” a clot that prevents blood from properly circulating in the brain and could lead to damage such as a subdural hemorrhage.

Dr. Smith also questions the age of the subdural bleeding. The bleed may have occurred many days before the incident with Tom on July 17th, which could open up other possibilities as to different accidents that could have caused the bleeds. Yet another of Franklin’s conditions, “macrocephaly” or enlarged head circumference and the resulting build up of fluid in the skull that results is a known risk factor for subdural hemorrhage.

Despite copious testimony from Tom’s friends, family, and employers supporting and praising his character, the case was not dropped. Today, Tom Imschweiler is serving 5 years in prison per the Alford plea deal he accepted to maintain his innocence. His wife Laura continues to champion his cause, and is requesting help signing this petition to commute Tom’s unjust sentence for a crime that never took place.

You can sign the petition here, or learn more at the Imschweiler’s website.