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Crib pad strangles baby girl in her bed

The Zephyrhills girl suffocates Wednesday after sliding between her mattress and a bumper pad.


© St. Petersburg Times, published April 14, 2001

ZEPHYRHILLS -- Cameron Elaine Conrad would have been 1 year old on Thursday.

But instead of marking a birthday, a grieving family is left to plan her funeral.

Conrad died Wednesday after she slid off her daybed between the mattress and a crib bumper pad. The pad wrapped around her neck and suffocate her, said Zephyrhills Police Capt. Richard Scudder.

Cameron's mother, Melissa Conrad, 32, told police that she put her daughter to bed around midnight Tuesday at their home, 6040 12th St.

When Conrad checked on Cameron the next morning just after 10 a.m., she found her with the pad wrapped around her neck.

Conrad called 911 and performed CPR on her daughter until paramedics arrived, at which time Cameron was pronounced dead.

Scudder said there was nothing suspicious about the death.

He said Joshua and Melissa Conrad had taken precautions to make their home safe for their young daughter and her 2-year-old sister, Kayla.

They had put a lock on the refrigerator, padlocked the kitchen sink cabinet, put safety handles on doorknobs, tied back window blind cords and put a baby monitor in the child's bedroom. But it wasn't enough.

"The tragic thing about this is that even though all that was done, the child still passed away," Scudder said. "Who knows why?"

The pad that Cameron suffocated on, commonly known as a "baby bumper," was meant to prevent a child's head from getting caught between the slats in cribs.

Investigators said the bumper pad was tied to one end of the bed but was untied near the baby's feet.

Melissa Conrad told police that her daughter was very active for her age. She could run, turn the TV off and on and climb on the sofa and chairs, Conrad said.

Scudder said police will await an autopsy report from the Medical Examiner in Largo before officially closing the case, though he expected no further action to be taken.

"Here's a family who goes out and does everything you could conceiveably do, and their child dies on them," he said. "It will drive you crazy just thinking about it."

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