Youngstown mom still struggles for answers in death of 10-week-old daughter

By William K. Alcorn


Jaslyn Abrams woke up at 6 a.m. in the bed she was sharing with her 21/2-month-old daughter, Noelle, at a friend’s house in Warren.

Jaslyn went to the bathroom and came back. She touched Noelle’s feet and thought they felt “a little bit cool.”

Then she saw Noelle’s chest was not moving; she wasn’t breathing.

Frantic, Jaslyn and her friend drove Noelle to the emergency room at ValleyCare Trumbull Memorial Hospital about 10 minutes away where medical personnel performed CPR for an hour.

“Oh my God. ... I saw she wasn’t breathing. I didn’t want to believe it. I just thought I was in a dream or something,” Jaslyn said with a sob.

“Noelle was lying on the same bed I was, but I didn’t roll on her, I know that. The only blanket I had on her was up to her waist,” she said.

It was Sunday, June 15, Father’s Day.

Noelle, born March 28, is the daughter of Jaslyn T. Abrams and Teandre Perry, her fiance for three years.

The cause of Noelle’s death is pending the results of a battery of tests that Trumbull County Coroner Dr. Humphrey D. Germaniuk orders on all unexplained infant deaths, according to the coroner’s office.

Jaslyn, 25, grew up in Youngstown, mostly on the city’s East Side. She is the daughter of Tracey Eley and Mathew Abrams, both of Youngstown.

Jaslyn’s siblings, all younger than her, are three sisters, Jamalia, Janiecia, and Jayla Abrams, and a brother, J.R. Abrams.

A 2007 graduate of Chaney High School, she attended Youngstown State University for a short time and is preparing to study medical assisting at Eastern Gateway Community College. She has worked at Infocision in Boardman for three weeks.

Jaslyn’s pregnancy was normal, as was the day before Noelle’s death.

Noelle was born at 38 weeks, weighing just under 5 pounds but did not require any time in a neonatal intensive-care unit.

“For the most part, she was completely fine during the pregnancy,” Jaslyn said.

Jaslyn said she and Noelle had been at the house of her friend in Warren, whose son is Jaslyn’s godson, on June 14 from about 5:30 p.m. They went somewhere and returned to the friend’s home about 12:30 a.m., and just stayed there rather than coming back to Youngstown.

“She was a little fussy. I changed her diaper around 1:30 a.m. and gave her a pacifier, and she went to sleep,” Jaslyn said of Noelle.

“Honestly, there was no reason to believe anything was wrong at that point,” Jaslyn said.

“All day June 15 she seemed to be her normal self. My question is, between 1:30 and 6 a.m., what happened?” she said.

“The hardest part is not knowing. When I know, maybe that will give me a little bit of peace, but it’s not going to take the hurt away. I just go to work and come home,” Jaslyn said.

Noelle was content as long as she had something colorful to watch, such as The Muppets. She liked to be held, her mother said.

Before Noelle, Jaslyn had three miscarriages and a daughter born in January 2013 who only lived three days.

Considered high-risk because of that history, she went to an obstetrician- gynecologist during the entire pregnancy and had progesterone shots to reduce the chances of a pre-term birth.

Asked why she agreed to be interviewed about such a painful subject, she said she hoped her story could help somebody.

“I mean, there could be somebody else going through the same thing I’m going through. I know exactly what their emotions are, what they are feeling,” she said.

Jaslyn said her grandmother, Joyce Eley, with whom she lived most of her life, is her older best friend.

“I talk to my grandma just about everything,” Jaslyn said. “She says ‘God doesn’t put more on you than you can bear.’ Sometimes I say, ‘God knew what he was doing when he took her.’ And sometimes I say ‘Why, of all people, why me?’

Grandma said that is one of the questions that will never be answered. “Every day you think about it.”

Her fiance Teandre added, “We try to take it one day at a time.”

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