Teresa Ionniello, the victim’s mother, sat down with WSB for an exclusive interview where she shared Arrendale’s final moments that ensured her baby would survive the violent night.
On Saturday night Antoine Davis, a 30-year-old Marine who served in Iraq, became belligerently drunk and abusive.
Ionniello said this had happened many times before, but her daughter did not seem able to turn Davis away no matter how often he was drunk and abusive.
Davis allegedly chased Jessica Arrendale up the stairs of her three-story townhome while she was holding their young daughter in her arms.
She attempted to fight off the drunk man with a baseball bat, but the suspect took the bat from her and allegedly beat her with it. The child’s grandmother added the baby may have been hit by the bat in the chaos, as the young child suffered a traumatic head injury during the ordeal.
Arrendale locked herself in a bathroom upstairs. Davis then got his gun, an assault rifle outfitted with a suppressor, and burst into the bathroom. While Arrendale was still holding her child, Davis allegedly shot her in the head and killed her.
“He shot her and they (police) don’t know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction,” Ionniello said.
Instead of falling to the floor, Arrendale slumped over the toilet. The baby fell into the toilet bowl, protected by her mother’s lifeless body, shielding the baby from her father’s view.
Arrendale’s mother believes it was no coincidence.
“She had pure will,” Ionniello said. “She wanted that baby to live.”
Police said Davis then left the bathroom, and shot himself in his daughter’s room.
Police were called to the home, but were hesitant to rush inside, fearing that a surprise entrance would increase the violence. They did not know that Arrendale and Davis were already dead.
After 13 hours inside the toilet, police found the baby. She remained at a hospital late this week.
The young baby, named Cobie, is expected to live with her maternal grandmother once she is ready to leave the hospital.