A Georgia mother’s final act in the face of her boyfriend’s drunken and violent assault was to save her six-month-old daughter’s life by secreting her in a toilet. As reported by KHOU.com (of Houston, Texas) on Sept. 21, 2014 and also by People Magazine on Sept. 20, 2014, Jessica Arrendale’s final moments of her life were of being pummeled by fists, beaten with a baseball bat, and finally taking a single rifle shot to the head, all the while, holding her 6-month-old daughter, Cobie.
After returning home from an evening dinner date with Antoine Davis, 30, the father of her youngest daughter and presumed current beau, Davis and Arrendale reportedly started to argue. As reported, Davis’ alcohol-fueled temper quickly turned from words to deeds. Cited in reports as inebriated, Davis chased Arrendale up three flights of stairs to her apartment in the suburban Atlanta bedroom community of Smyrna.
While media reports are sketchy as to exactly when Arrendale took physical custody of her baby daughter that evening, it has been established that mother and child were together in the apartment along with the violent and abusive Davis. It was then that the stereotypically attractive Southern Belle attempted to defend both herself and Cobie with a baseball bat. In short order Davis wrested control of the makeshift club from the mother of his child and proceeded to beat her with it. It’s presumed that Davis also struck Baby Cobie with the ball bat at least once, as it’s been noted that she in fact is suffering from a traumatic brain injury.
With Arrendale taking several blows to the head, she managed to barricade herself and Cobie in the apartment’s bathroom. It was only then that Davis left the residence, only to retrieve a rifle from his vehicle. Back in the apartment, Davis eventually broke down the restroom door, killing Arrendale with a single shot to the head. For a reason known only to Davis, he went into Baby Cobie’s room where he ended his life with a single shot.
If it’s possible for this tragedy to have a silver lining, it would be that Cobie survived the attack from her birth father. According to Arrendale’s mother, Teresa Ionniello, Smyrna police were unable to contact anyone inside the townhouse, and understandably “reluctant to rush the house, concerned their actions might spark violence. They did not know Arrendale and Davis were already dead. They sent in a robot, but the machine could not navigate the stairs in the three-story building.”
The grieving mother and grandmother also stated “He shot her and they (police) don’t know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction.” Instead of the fatally wounded Arrendale falling onto the floor, she “fell over the toilet, dropping little Cobie into the water-filled bowl. The baby remained in the toilet, covered by her mother’s body, for 13-hours before officers finally stormed the townhouse and rescued her. She was cradled in the arms of an officer who rushed her outside to a waiting ambulance.”
Cobie is still being treated at Children’s Health Care of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital. Ionniello states there is hope she can bring Cobie home with her soon, where she already cares for Jessica’s 15-year-old daughter, Naomi. Friends have “set up a fund to help offset the expense of Jessica’s funeral and to aid in the education of her two children. Already, the fund has raised over $17,000.”