Taking your child to the Emergency Room? Bring your lawyer. Families are being torn apart by unfounded accusations of Shaken Baby Syndrome, a.k.a. Abusive Head Trauma. Join Torn Family in the fight to end these injustices.

When Josh and Brenda Burns’ daughter Naomi became severely ill, they brought her to the emergency room. They wish they had also brought their lawyer. A University of Michigan child abuse doctor claimed Naomi had been violently shaken. This doctor diagnosed Naomi with Shaken Baby Syndrome (SBS), a theory based on what is now considered faulty science. Other Doctors would later explain that Naomi’s illness was due to her traumatic birth. The U of M doctor nevertheless gave key testimony that resulted in Josh being convicted of child abuse he did not commit.

Torn Family Inc. was founded by Burns’ friends and family after they witnessed the damage that junk science can inflict on innocent people. The Burns family continues to seek exoneration, and theirs is not an isolated case. Many others are still in prison, some even facing the death penalty. Families continue to be torn apart by false allegations of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Torn Family Inc. seeks to educate the public and to lobby for legislative changes to reform the processes that are responsible for these injustices.

Torn Family Board Members:

Jeremy Praay graduated from Central Michigan University in 1991 with a BS in Computer Science. He first became interested in SBS in 2003, after reading about the case of Tonia Miller. In 2011, he became actively involved in her case, before handing it off to the Michigan Innocence Clinic in 2014 in their joint effort with The Medill Justice Project.

Matt Eckman is a lifelong resident of Livingston County, MI. Self-employed since 1988, Matt has been involved in the local business community for 31 years. His interests include security technology and hospice work.

Dr. Douglas Smith is a retired Professor of Pathology from the University of Michigan. He has been working with the Michigan Innocence Clinic and other defense teams since 2014 on cases of alleged shaken baby syndrome. He grew up in Iowa but has lived in Ann Arbor since 2006. He is a graduate of the University of Iowa and the University of Minnesota (first loyalty to the Hawkeyes). He runs the website Washtenaw Watchdogs.

Allie Parker is a wife and mother of 3. Due to a medical condition their son had, she and her husband Jimmy were falsely accused of child abuse. They lost custody of both their children for nearly 8 months before a judge vindicated them. You can read their full story here. Allie has become an advocate for families and individuals falsely accused of child abuse, and currently runs the website DarkAllieAdvocacy.net

Hannah Eckman is currently a student at Eastern Michigan University, seeking her Bachelor of Science in Nursing. With a background in graphic design, she has been maintaining the Torn Family website since its inception.Save




The Burns Story

When they brought their daughter Naomi to the ER, the last thing the Burns expected was accusations of abuse.

Their Story

What is SBS?

Doctors and CPS are ignoring the flaws in the science of Shaken Baby Syndrome and tearing families apart.

Learn More

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