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Army spouse at Fort Eisenhower charged with murdering her baby

The child was found dead at home on Nov. 15 following a standoff between the mother and police.
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Fort Gordon was renamed Fort Eisenhower on October 27, the last of nine Army bases to replace the name of a Confederate officer. Army photo.

An Army spouse at Fort Eisenhower was arrested this week and charged with killing her 11-month-old baby. 

April Evalyn Short was arrested on Thursday, Nov. 16 and charged with the murder of her son. According to the criminal complaint filed by the Department of Justice, Short’s husband, Staff Sgt. James Short, was on duty just after 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 15 when he started to receive strange texts from his wife. The messages talked about “God” and said that “the days of darkness are upon us.” Another message said that the spouses would “be together again.” Worried for his child, Short tried calling and texting his wife but could not reach her. 

According to the complaint, Short rushed home and after finding the main bedroom barricaded, called police. April Short left the room with her two older children and tried to drive away. An officer had to draw their weapon to get her to stop. James Short and police found the youngest child in the bathroom, wrapped in plastic and bleeding from a knife wound to the neck. The child was rushed to Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center but pronounced dead 30 minutes later. 

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According to the affidavit by a member of the Army Criminal Investigation Division, the older Short children said that their mother had grabbed two knives and told them she was going to help get the youngest “to God and Jesus.” She then told them not to come into the bathroom as “it might be really scary.” One of the children said that April Short threatened to hurt them if they did not stop crying during the incident.

April Short is currently being held by U.S. Marshals and has yet to enter a plea following an initial hearing in front of a judge. 

Staff Sgt. James Short, originally from San Diego, Calif., has served as a drill sergeant at Fort Eisenhower (formerly known as Fort Gordon) since 2021. He joined the Army in 2006.

“We have informed our Fort Eisenhower community of the identity. We are focused on providing support to all who suffered in this tragedy,” the U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence, based at Fort Eisenhower, said in an update on the case. “We appreciate the sensitivity afforded to our community as we take care of our team and continue to heal from this tragic loss.”

The child’s death is the second fatal incident to occur on a military installation in Georgia this week. Staff Sgt. Meiziaha T. Cooper as well as her husband and two children were found dead in their home at Fort Stewart on Thursday. Army Criminal Investigation Division is investigating the deaths.

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