When Alicia Quinney and Joshua Marbury returned home after a two-hour date night in March, they stepped into a parent's worst nightmare.
The Oregon parents left their 1-year-old son Jacob and 3-year-old daughter Jaylynn with a longtime family friend, who has not been named because he has not been charged. Before they even reached the door on their way back home, the parents could hear Jacob's cries from inside the house. Inside, they found the babysitter asleep on the couch, Jaylynn playing with the babysitter's dog and Jacob screaming on the bed.
The babysitter later claimed he fed Jacob a bottle and rocked him to sleep, but Quinney noticed a full bottle on the counter and "knew he was lying."
It wasn't until the next morning that Jacob showed bruising. First a black eye appeared, but then bruises started showing all over his body, including inside his ears, under his arms, on his arms and back. The parents said there was even a hand-shaped black and blue bruise on the side of Jacob's face.
Quinney and Marbury rushed Jacob to the hospital where police detectives met them and Jacob was examined. They also took Jacob to a local children's hospital the next day for a more complete exam, including a full-body X-ray, CT scan and blood tests. All tests came back clear.
When Quinney told the babysitter she was taking Jacob to the hospital and filing a police report, he said he dropped Jacob on the cement while trying to run after Jaylynn and his dog, Today Parents reports.
But after almost three months and no arrests, Marbury posted photos of Jacob with bruises on his Facebook and detailed the incident. The post has been shared more than 400,000 times.
"Something needs to be done. NOBODY can just hit a child and more to just get away with it because the child can't verbally tell you. Your help is appreciated in the Portland area," he writes and asks for readers to share his post and bring awareness to their case.
It's difficult to prosecute the alleged abuser, especially after 2012's case when the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned State v. Wright and ruled that in order to prove physical injury, the victim had to suffer "harm to the body that results in a reduction in one's ability to use the body or a bodily organ for less than a protracted period of time" or "substantial pain." The problem is, substantial pain is usually proven by the victim's statement, and that's pretty much impossible for babies and toddlers like Jacob.
Since the viral post, a #JusticeforJacob GoFundMe account has been set up by Quinney's sister to help with household expenses, counseling for Jacob's sister and future attorney fees. (They've currently raised more than $7,000 out of $10,000.)
A Change.org petition is also in place, asking the Oregon State Supreme Court to overturn the 2012 ruling.
And the parents, hoping there will still be justive for Jacob, say the Washington County D.A. is re-reviewing Jacob's medical records.
"We're still hoping we can change this for Jacob, but if we can't, at least we can help others," they told Today.