Jessica Arrendale literally breathed her last breath while shielding her six-month-old daughter Cobie from her abusive, gun wielding boyfriend Antoine Davis.
On Saturday night Jessica and Antoine went out on a date. The date was going fine until Antoine became belligerently drunk and abusive. When the couple arrived at their home, Arrendale ran through the house to get away from Davis.
Jessica grabbed a baseball bat and tried to defend herself, but Antoine, a former Marine, overpowered her and started beating her with the bat while she held the infant. Arrendale somehow got away and retreated to her bathroom with her daughter, who may have also been hit with the bat because she suffered from traumatic brain injuries. Davis then retrieved his rifle, broke into the bathroom, and shot Arrendale in the head.
Authorities believe that Davis planned on killing the child too, but did not see Arrendale drop her gently in the toilet as she fell to the ground. Davis then covered Arrendales body and went to the nursery where he took his own life.
“He shot her and they (police) don’t know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction,” Jessica's mother Teresa Ionniello told Wbsradion.com. “She had pure will. She wanted that baby to live.”
“She was the hero,” Ionniello added, “because her last breath was saving the child.”
Cobie remained in the toilet for 13 hours before she was finally found by police. She is currently at the Children’s Health Care of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital receiving treatment. Along with the brain injury, Cobie was also suffering from hypothermia. Once she is released, Cobie will be going home with her grandmother, who already cares for Jessica's 15-year-old daughter.
Arrendale's friends set up a fundraising account on Gofundme.com to help her children. As of 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 24, the account has raised a total of $38,740.
"An amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend was taken way too soon. Jessica was one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. This fund has been set-up for the two children that she has left behind," the site reads. "Jessica was the sole provider for her household. As a friend, I feel obligated to do all things possible to make sure the children's life remain in the state it was prior to the events that occured. There was no doubt of Jessica's beauty, but when you truly knew her is when you saw the real beauty."