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Nanny sent to prison for eating lunch after fatally shaking ‘miracle baby’ as newborn’s parents awaited surrogate birth of twins

Victoria Fox

Victoria Fox pictured in court (via NBC San Diego screengrab)

A 40-year-old nanny who admittedly ate lunch after fatally shaking and throwing a newborn in her care in late August 2021 will spend the next 25 years to the rest of her life in prison for first-degree murder.

The horrific case established that Victoria Frances Fox was flown to San Diego, Calif., by the 4-week-old victim’s Singaporean parents to help watch their son at an Airbnb as the couple anticipated the surrogate birth of twins. When the surrogate went into labor, Phoenix’s parents left the baby in Fox’s care at the Airbnb. Although the couple had also hired a second nanny to watch the baby, Fox managed to commit the fatal abuse while alone with the victim upstairs in the rental property. The defendant then admittedly returned downstairs to eat lunch with the other nanny as if nothing had happened rather than getting the baby help.

Superior Court of California records show that the case against Fox was brought on Aug. 24, 2021 and prosecuted by the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. As Fox’s guilty plea to first-degree murder indicates, the defendant is the one solely responsible for the fatal blunt force trauma inflicted on the defenseless newborn. Shockingly, that abuse occurred the first time that Fox was alone with the baby.

According to NBC San Diego, Fox apologized in court through her attorney, expressing that she was “deeply sorry” for her actions.

More Law&Crime Coverage: A Nurse Took in a Cognitively Impaired Teen, Made Her a Nanny, and Tortured Her for Years Before Killing Her in 1999. Now She’s a Convicted Murderer.

The victim’s parents said they checked Fox’s background and spent days with the defendant prior to the slaying. Then, as they awaited the birth of twins, the parents learned the life of their “miracle baby” was stolen, according to a sentencing memo in the case obtained by Law&Crime:

The couple had a difficult time getting pregnant, including multiple failed attempts at IVF. Eventually, Phoenix’s mother gave birth to their first born in 2020. They wanted their child to have siblings, so they located a surrogate in San Diego who became pregnant via IVF with the couple’s twins. Soon thereafter, and to the surprise of their doctors, the couple discovered they were pregnant with Phoenix. Phoenix was born on July 18, 2021 – they called Phoenix their “miracle baby.”

The victim died within a day of the fatal abuse, which included head trauma, a fractured femur, and “extreme subdural hemorrhaging,” Deputy District Attorney Ramona McCarthy said in comments to NBC San Diego. Court documents noted that Fox had lunch and texted Phoenix’s mother claiming the baby had gas and wasn’t eating.

After Fox asked when the parents would come home, Phoenix’s mother had a “gut” feeling that something wasn’t right, the memo said:

Defendant was only concerned about protecting herself. She violently abused Phoenix and watched as he was dying refusing to provide him aid. Instead, Defendant intervened to ensure that Phoenix did not receive medical aid by initially convincing his mother that he was fine. Phoenix’s mother nevertheless rushed home after having a “gut” feeling that something was wrong only to find her four week old baby dying in her arms. Defendant continued to tell the emergency response team that Phoenix was merely dehydrated and that he did not require their level of medical intervention. Even while Phoenix’s parents were at the hospital as their son was dying, instead of expressing remorse or at minimum, empathy, Defendant instead sent a text message to them expressing her outrage that the police dare investigate her and treat her as though she was guilty. Defendant expressed that she was upset that no one – including Phoenix’s parents – were concerned for her feelings because, “You know how sensitive I am…and my job means everything to me. I just feel it all slipping away.”

When Phoenix’s mother returned to the Airbnb, she found the newborn “barely breathing with blue lips and his body completely limp,” the memo said.

The parents learned later on that Fox had fabricated her nanny resume, court documents said:

To prepare for the birth of their twins, Phoenix’s parents decided it was best to hire a second nanny who could help watch 4 week old Phoenix. Phoenix’s parents participated in a thorough vetting process and ultimately hired Defendant – a career nanny who impressed the couple through multiple interviews, an impressive resume, and who came with stellar recommendations (later to be discovered that the most recent reference was fabricated). Phoenix’s parents paid for Defendant to fly to San Diego a week earlier and the family met Defendant on August 13, 2021. The entire family, along with the two nannies, stayed in a 4 bedroom, two-story, 4,600 square foot Airbnb.

Court documents said Fox admitted she shook the newborn because he wouldn’t stop crying. The nanny said she was “British” and too proud to ask for help amid a battle with mental illness, documents said:

Defendant initially denied knowing how Phoenix suffered a brain injury and continued to reiterate that she is a highly experienced nanny, and no child would ever be hurt under her care. Ultimately, Defendant admitted that at around 3:00 a.m., she violently shook Phoenix, threw him on the bed twice, and squeezed him. Defendant stated that she threw Phoenix in the middle of the bed the first time, but the second time she used more force throwing Phoenix towards the side of the bed. Defendant used a doll to demonstrate how she shook Phoenix – she shook the doll in a forward/back motion causing the doll’s head to whip all the way back and completely forward. Defendant stated she hurt Phoenix because he would not stop crying.

A doctor who treated the Phoenix at the hospital prior to the baby’s death was quoted in the sentencing memo, saying, “It’s disturbing to see the amount of injury to this child’s head.”

“I don’t usually see this type of ischemic injury to a brain this fast,” the physician said.

Prosecutors wrote in Fox’s sentencing memo that the “very day that Phoenix’s parents were celebrating the birth of their twins was the same day the person they hired to protect and care for Phoenix violently abused him and killed him.”

“With every year they celebrate their twins’ birthday, they also mourn Phoenix’s death,” the memo said.

In a heartbreaking statement thanking authorities for their work on the case, Phoenix’s parents reportedly told the NBC affiliate they think of their son daily and hope Fox’s punishment means no other family will suffer as they have. The prosecution read the statement on the parents’ behalf in court, as the couple did not appear at sentencing, City News Service reported.

California law says that “[e]very person guilty of murder in the first degree shall be punished by death, imprisonment in the state prison for life without the possibility of parole, or imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 25 years to life.” Given the long-standing state moratorium on the death penalty and the fact of the defendant’s guilty plea, Fox received a sentence of 25 years to life.

Jail records reviewed by Law&Crime show that Fox is held at the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee following her sentencing Tuesday to state prison.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.