Babysitter and boyfriend face murder and other felony charges after toddler girl dies in hospital from blunt force trauma: Police

A Tennessee couple is facing charges in connection with a little girl’s death after she passed away in the hospital, where she fought for her life for 12 days.

NBC3 reports that 27 year-old Benjamin Brown has been charged with murder after toddler Annie Burkett Shell passed away at a local hospital. Brown’s girlfriend, Brandi Giannunzio, who babysat the little girl regularly, is also faces charges in connection with the death.

According to court documents, Giannunzio called 911 on August 2 from her home off of Vine Street in Soddy Daisy, where she was babysitting Annie. She claimed the child was having seizures.

After the toddler arrived to the hospital, a doctor reportedly determined that Annie’s seizures were unnatural and a result of blunt force trauma. The toddler’s grandparents and legal guardians, David and Tiffany Shell, said that it remains unclear exactly what happened to cause the little girl to die.

“It’s tearing our family apart,” David Shell told ABC9.

The grandparents also reported that they had been dropping Annie off at Giannunzio’s house for at least five months. Giannunzio was a trusted family friend, but they did not know about and had never met Brown.

Babysitter, boyfriend charged in Hamilton County after 2-year-old girl dies

JUSTICE FOR ANNIE: A Hamilton County family mourns the death of a girl just days from turning 3 years old. A Soddy-Daisy babysitter & her boyfriend face charges – Hannah Lawrence reports:

Posted by WTVC-TV NewsChannel 9 News on Monday, October 1, 2018


Around a month after Annie’s death, a Hamilton County Grand Jury heard information regarding the little girl’s death and charged Brown with murder. Court documents indicate Brown “did unlawfully inflict mortal injuries on Annie Burkett during the perpetration of an aggravated child abuse, which resulted in the death of Annie Burkett on August 21, 2018.”

Giannunzio was subsequently charged with accessory after the fact and making false reports.

Both suspects have since bonded out jail. Their arraignment hearing is scheduled for October 5. The girl’s grandparents plan to be present at the hearing and demand justice.

Check back with CrimeOnline as additional details become available.

[Feature Photo: Annie Shell/Handout]