AGFC Northeast Arkansas Fishing Report

Grandmother of ‘shaken baby’ says she sought help for child

‘ I was told to wait until something happened. Well, this has happened now’

“They said they couldn’t help until something happened; well now something has happened,” said Patricia Blake-Smith. “What will they do?”

Blake-Smith said she tried to sound the warning with various authorities about potential abuse and neglect before her new grandson wound up in the hospital.

Blake-Smith is the maternal grandmother of an eight-week-old shaken baby from West Memphis being treated at LeBonheur for two sets of severe injuries.

West Memphis Police arrested the baby’s father, John Russell Hardin, after he brought the baby boy, born April 24, to the hospital with severe injuries, including a blinded right eye. West Memphis Police initially said the baby had head trauma, was bleeding with seepage in the skull.

Hardin was arrested Monday, June 18, after confessing to manhandling the infant. The police report reviewed in court indicated doctors said injuries were consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome. An older set of injuries were also discovered by physicians on the baby’s side that were estimated to be a week old.

Police said Hardin’s account for what happened with each set of injuries was inconsistent with medical findings. Hardin was arrested for one count on the most recent injuries.

Hardin stood for a bond hearing Wednesday afternoon. The court heard that the 20 year old Hardin was standing for his first felony charge, Battery in the First Degree, a Class Y felony due to the age of the child.

Judge Fred Thorne ruled for a $100,000 bond after police asked for $1,000,000.

“I can’t do that,” said Thorne. “But charges may be upgraded depending on the outcome for the child.”

“Oh, $100,000 bond is nothing,” blurted a weeping Blake-Smith from the courtroom gallery.

According to the police statement the mother said she left the boy with Hardin to shop at Walmart, returned to find the injured child and took the baby to the hospital.

Blake-Smith said she had reported her concerns about neglect and potential violence in her daughter Pharis Clark’s home to the Crittenden County Department of Human Services on Dec.

23 after she was turned away with Christmas gifts for her older grandchild.

She said her daughter called the cops on her and accused her of trying to kidnap a one-year-old boy and wound up with a 10year order of protection.

Capt. Joe Baker of the West Memphis Police Department offered an explanation concerning the lack of information Blake-Smith had received concerning the case, stemming directly from that order.

“A crucuit Judge issued the order of protection,” said Baker. “She’s not supposed to ask anythng about her daughter’s family, She’s not to communicate about it on social media and we are prohibited from telling her about the case.”

That hasn’t stopped the concerned grandma from looking for help. She talked to lawyers, judges, police and went to DHS and alleged her daughter’s home was a heroin flop house with a handful of male addicts coming and going.

The grandmother said there were numerous police reports at her daughter’s home address. Violence became a concern a couple of years earlier when the city removed a vicous dog and banned it from the city limits. After her call to county DHS in December, Blake-Smith said she waited three weeks and heard nothing and finally called Little Rock. The grandmother claimed everyone she sought out sang the same refrain – wait until something


“In January, I called DHS in Little Rock DHS and that got the ball rolling immediately with a visit the next day,” said Blake-Smith. “It had taken them county DHS 22 days to respond and visit the house while my grandchild was being raised by drug addicts. They said the same thing as everyone else: I was told to wait until something happened. Well, this has happened now. What can be done? This child’s future looks really rough.

The parents — my daughter, Pharis and the ‘baby daddy’ John Hardin need to be punished severely for this.”

By John Rech