Co-Sleeping Parents Demonstrate How They Slept The Night Their Infant Died
Vanessa Clark sobbed on her husband's shoulder, and he was crying too. The reason? It's the wrenching pain these parents displayed to INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd how their two-month-old baby, Tristan, died in bed beside them.
Boyd asked, "Can you show me what happened that morning?"
Mark Clark said he was asleep on the left side; Vanessa was in the middle and baby Tristan on the right.
Boyd asked, "Did you fall asleep in that position?"
Vanessa said, "I fell asleep like this with him right here beside me."
They were co-sleeping, which doctors say is dangerous because it's easy for a sleeping parent to roll over and smother a small baby.
Vanessa and Mark knew the dangers. Incredibly, another of their children, Christian, died at 4-months-old in their bed just a year earlier. Yet, they continued to bring their new baby, Tristan, who was born after Christian's death, into bed with them.
Boyd asked, "Are you certain, Vanessa, that you did not roll on top of Tristan that night?"
She said, "I believe it's possible, but I don't believe I did."
Next morning, when they woke up, Tristan was dead.
Vanessa said, "I handed him to Mark, I leapt off the bed I was like, screaming uncontrollably, going out of my mind. I couldn't believe it. I thought I was in a nightmare, I was dreaming."
Vanessa said she became hysterical as Mark took the baby, laid him on the carpet and tried frantically to revive him.
Mark said "I was talking to the 911 operator and she was telling me step-by-step what to do."
Boyd asked, "And what did you do?"
"I done CPR," he said.
But it was too late. Like Christian a year earlier, Tristan had died in their bed.
Mark said, "To relive it twice, it's too much."
In a videotaped police interrogation obtained by INSIDE EDITION, Vanessa tried to explain why she let the infant sleep in her bed despite the dangers.
Vanessa said, "He doesn't like being in the bassinet. He wants to be right beside me."
She was charged with child endangerment and found guilty in a Houston area court.
She was ambushed by reporters outside court who said, "Didn't you know you were endangering your baby's life? And this is the second time it had happened!"
Mark, tried separately on the same charge, was acquitted.
They claim both babies were victims of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome that had nothing to do with co-sleeping.
Boyd asked, "What do you want to say to people who say you're the worst mom in the world, that you should never have done this?"
Vanessa said, "I just want to say you don't know me. You don't know my heart. You don't know what I go through each and every day. The pain and the suffering that I endure."
Vanessa could go to prison for up to ten years when she's sentenced next month. But she believes prison can't be as bad as the pain of losing her babies.
Vanessa said, "There are no words to describe how horrible you feel and how much it hurts. You're literally crushed on the inside."