James Saltmarshall Wrongly Accused of Gruesome Crimes Against Infant Daughter

James Saltmarshall Wrongly Accused of Gruesome Crimes Against Infant Daughter

Doctors wrongly claimed Janiyah had been sexually assaulted before she died. James was arrested and missed his daughter's funeral. An autopsy found none of the injuries doctors initially reported.

Accused of sexually assaulting and murdering his 8-month-old infant daughter, Janiyah, James Saltmarshall sat in jail, never getting the chance to say his final goodbyes, as her funeral went on without him. Two months later, an autopsy revealed Janiyah suffered none of the injuries doctors initially reported they found.

James Saltmarshall stayed at the Alpine Motel in Inkster, Michigan, with his 8-month-old daughter, Janiyah. He recently gained custody after her mother, who had five other children, lost custody after numerous child abuse complaints and a criminal conviction for the same.

On April 22, 2018, a particularly fretful day, Janiyah was fussy. She refused a bottle, and refused to nap. As luck would have it, James forgot her pack n’ play at his cousin’s house and his car stopped running that morning. Finally getting Janiyah calmed down, James changed her diaper and held her until she finally drifted off to sleep.

Exhausted from the day, James sat on the bed, inadvertently falling asleep himself. When he woke, Janiyah lay beside him on the bed. She wasn’t breathing.

Dad Dials 9-1-1

Panicked, James dialed 9-1-1 to report that she was not breathing. Paramedics rushed her to a local ER and transported her onto the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in nearby Detroit with critical injuries.

James explained to the attending ED doctor, Dr. Stephanie Wright, that he was holding Janiyah, placed her on the bed, and noticed she was not breathing. He failed to mention that he fell asleep while holding her.

Dr. Wright examined Janiyah, finding signs of trauma inconsistent with Saltmarshall’s story. Those findings included a large bleeding rectal tear consistent with something being inserted into the anus. The doctor called the Department of Children’s Services to report her suspicions.

Doctors Claim to Find More Injuries

Additional doctors came in to examine Janiyah and the injuries they found grew. Dr. Scott Langenberg, one of the attending physicians at the hospital, texted Lt. Jeffrey Twardzik with the Inkster Police Department the following report: “Baby has skull fractures, brain swelling on CT (likely will meet brain death criteria,) lung bruising, anterior anal lacerations. We have some other studies pending. This is non-accidental trauma. The perpetrator murdered this child.” Janiyah was still alive at this time.

Another doctor said her injuries were consistent with the shaken baby syndrome.

James told Detective Musnon with the Inkster police department “My daughter was fine. We went to sleep. I wake up and she is dead because I suffocated her too much in the middle of my sleep. I held her too close. I just didn't want her to fall off the bed, man."

The detective questioned Saltmarshall regarding the other reported injuries. Saltmarshall first asked “what injuries?” before attempting to give explanations for the injuries. He told Munson that he might have shaken Janiyah when he realized she was not breathing to try to wake her. He also said Janiyah could have slipped out of his hands and hit her head as he performed CPR. He denied any involvement or knowledge or rectal injuries.

James Arrested

Based on these findings, police charged Saltmarshall with first-degree murder, child abuse, and sexual assault on a minor. He spent the next 7 ½ days in jail waiting for his arraignment. At this hearing, he learned the charges against him -and that his daughter had passed.

Janiyah was declared brain dead on April 23, 2018, at 7:36 a.m.

The pain etched across his face as he learned the news of his daughter’s death. His body shook uncontrollably as he attempted to find a way to drown some of the immense pain.

Though Saltmarshall posted bail, he was forbidden from making contact with kids and did not get to attend Janiyah’s funeral.

Autopsy Finds None of the Injuries Reported by Doctors; Charges Dismissed

Two months later, things changed.

An autopsy performed on Janiyah was inconsistent with the reports made available by the examining doctors. The medical examiner did not find brain injuries or rectal tears, nor was there a skull fracture. The autopsy concluded the rectal tear was actually a minute fissure caused by constipation. The skull fracture was a small laceration. There were no signs of shaken baby syndrome or brain injuries. The autopsy report concluded that Janiyah's death was likely caused by accidental asphyxiation from Saltmarshall holding Janiyah while they slept.


This is what pain looks like.

This is the moment James learned in court that his daughter had died.


You cannot fake this, though criminals like Lyle and Erik and so many others try. James Saltmarshall was a great dad, a man innocent of crimes brought against him based on false reports from a doctor. Please share this post to help James Saltmarshall rectify his good name so Janiyah can rest in peace!

My condolences to the entire family, especially Mr. Saltmarshall.

Rest Easy, Janiyah.

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James Saltmarshall Wrongly Accused of Gruesome Crimes Against Infant Daughter
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