Matty Eappen died at the age of eight months as a result of being violently shaken by a caregiver. This foundation was established in his memory to improve the safety and welfare of children by educating the public about the dangers of shaking a child and to provide assistance to victims and their families.
The following is the victim statement Matty's mother read to impact the court after Louise Woodward was convicted of 2nd degree murder.
Matty died in our arms, surrounded by family, including his loving, 2-year-old brother, Brendan. Despite his tubes and IVs and surgical dressing covering his head, he looked to me like a little prince.
Since that day our lives are completely altered. Our hearts are heavy every day with the most excruciating pain.
How can we make sense of any of this? How can we go on? Can we be happy again?
I get flashbacks of what I envision happened to my innocent, defenseless, baby Matthew. I am sickened to think he was crying for help but was instead beaten by hands that were supposed to have been caring for him.
She didn't look scary to me. She didn't seem like a child abuser, or a monster or a murderer. We had no idea that she would harm our kids.
I'm scared now when I hear an ambulance. I have nightmares. I'm afraid to answer the phone or door. We are not safe.
The unthinkable has happened, and now anything can happen. My assumptions about life are now my goals: that my children will be safe; my marriage intact; and our lives, one day, happy again.
I cannot end without speaking for Brendan, who's so upset by someone he cared for. He has so many questions. "How come baby Matthew died? What is death? Where is heaven? I want baby Matthew back. I've got Matthew, here he is!,'' as he cups his hands to pretend that Matthew is with us.
He looks up to the stars to say goodnight to Matty. "I love you. How was it up in heaven today?''
Even this morning Brendan said, "I hope Matthew liked those balloons we sent to him,'' reminding me of the helium balloons we set free on Matthew's birthday.
He asks questions. "Why did Louise hurt Matty? Why did Louise hit Matty's head on something hard?''
And he cries. And I have no answers.
These questions haunt us forever: How? What exactly happened? How long did Matty suffer? Why?
Every day we are faced with the challenge, how to go on living without Matthew. I am so grateful to those who helped and supported us. And I'm so sorry now for all the pain that everyone involved has suffered.
And I am hopeful that someday we will find peace.