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Child Cases, The

When a child dies under suspicious circumstances, abuse is often suspected. That’s what happened in the case of six-month-old Isis Vas, whose death was deemed “a clear-cut and classic” case of child abuse, sending a man named Ernie Lopez to prison for 60 years. But now a Texas judge has moved to overturn Lopez’s conviction, and new questions are being asked about the quality of expert testimony in this and many other similar cases. FRONTLINE unearths more than 20 child death cases in which people were jailed on medical evidence—involving abuse, assault, and “shaken baby syndrome”—that was later found unreliable or flat-out wrong. Are death investigators being properly trained for child cases?