Toddler called ‘miracle baby’ recovering following months in hospital after alleged abuse

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A miracle baby. That’s how family members describe little Cortney Raegann Smythe.

Raegann Smythe

WREG first told you about the one-year-old back in November when she was on life support.

But the little girl the family calls Raegann is recovering, defying the odds — all while the man police believe is responsible remains on the run.

At first glance 16-month-old Raegann looks like your average toddler. But what the little girl has been through is anything but ordinary.

“We just believe that she’s our miracle baby,” her godmother Caroline Williams explained as she held the child.

Six months ago, Raegann was hospitalized, surrounded by stuffed animals, spending her first birthday on a ventilator.

The images were heartbreaking. She underwent multiple brain surgeries.

“She’s had her eye surgery also to remove the blood from behind the eyes,” Williams explained.

Raegann and her family now living with Williams, who filled us in on her turbulent journey we have followed every step of the way.

“She was on life support for quite some time. We were told by multiple doctors that she would not survive. That if she did survive that she would end up being as vegetable. She would not be able to see or talk or feed herself. Or move or crawl or do anything that a normal baby would be able to do,” Williams said.

When we visited Raegann she was holding her own bottle and giggling.

“She is forming some words. She can say mommy, bauble, bye bye, she can do bye bye.”

Rageann was at Le Bonheur Children’s hospital for several months before she went to Atlanta for extensive therapy.

The details about what first landed the little girl in the ICU are vague.

A Memphis police report says officers first responded to Baptist Pediatric at the end of October when Raegann was unresponsive.

Alex Harrison

Raegann’s mother was at work and left Raegann with her then fiance, Alex Harrison.

The report detailing Harrison told Raegann’s mother he was in the shower and heard a loud noise. When he came out he said he found the little girl unresponsive. She was taken to the hospital but Harrison didn’t go. However Raegann’s mother says Harrison did actually go to the hospital.

The report also goes on to say Harrison told police a different account of what happened. He said he was in the living room with Raegann and his three-year-old child. He said he left, heard a loud noise and returned to find her crying. He picked Raegann up, and after a few minutes she stopped crying, then vomited and became unresponsive.

“Right now we really don`t have many answers. We’re kinda like blinded to what’s going on,” Williams said.

Since Raegann’s injury the family says they haven’t heard much about the investigation.

The warrant for Harrison is listed on the Shelby County warrants website, but his picture is not included. He faces a charge of aggravated child abuse – endangerment in the warrant.

WREG has reached out to police asking why multiple times as well as asked for an update on the investigation but so far we have not heard back from police.

“If it was an accident then it’s an accident, if it was something intentional then we need to know and we need to have the answers regarding that,” Williams said.

For now, the family focuses on her recovery.

“We do have a strong faith in God and we know that God’s word is true and fateful.”

They know there’s still a long road ahead. “Our next steps is to get her to where she can be more mobile.”

She’s already in a special therapy daycare, they hope to get braces for her legs so she can someday be able to walk.

Family is turning to faith, as they look to the future.

“Even though we have to trust in part the medical field and knowing that they do have certain areas of wisdom and understanding that God gives them. When it`s all said and done we have to truly turn to God and say, ‘God, this baby is in your hands. You have plans for this child. That`s the reason why she`s still here with us today.”

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