The Real Jocelynn
Jocelynn Renee Allison was born in Anchorage, Alaska on June 22, 2007. She was the first grandchild born to both of her parents’ families. She had been eagerly awaited by her two parents, two uncles, three aunts, four grandparents, a large extended family, and numerous family friends. She was born nine months after her parents’ first wedding anniversary, in the summer just before her mother’s last semester of college at the University of Alaska Anchorage. To learn more about her parents’ story, check out the Frontiersman.com Justice For Jocelynn article, written by Heather Resz in July 2015.
Jocelynn’s birth brought a close to a complicated pregnancy and challenging labor. Her mother, CJ Allison, had struggled in the late stages of pregnancy with debilitating joint laxity (which doctors had no way to explain at the time). In the worst episodes, CJ’s left knee had dislocated completely on two separate occasions; throwing her to the ground and causing significant injury, but fortunately not causing any known injury to Jocelynn herself before birth. CJ’s family and friends had seen her fall, and her sister volunteered to live with CJ and assist her with the increasing challenges of mobility until Jocelynn was born. Due to the injury and continuously worsening joint laxity, CJ endured the final weeks of her pregnancy with the assistance of 2 ankle braces, a knee brace, a hip brace, and a walker; which she was required to use to prevent further falls. These complications quickly faded into the background as Jocelynn’s family was finally able to celebrate her birth and welcome her to her large and loving family.
Throughout Jocelynn’s short life, she constantly visited with friends and family who were eager to spend as much time with her as possible. Her parents were part of a very large and social group of friends who were all going through college together, and Jocelynn was the first child born into the group. Her parents lived in an apartment across the hall from their best friends who had their own son born just 5 months after Jocelynn. The two children spent many of their days together, either with their father and mother, or adoptive uncle and aunt.
Jocelynn initially struggled with colic, which seemed to resolve itself after around 3 months. Then in January 2008, at around 7 months old, Jocelynn began showing symptoms that were concerning to doctors. They explained to CJ that Jocelynn’s head circumference had begun to increase dramatically and rapidly. A CT scan was conducted and Jocelynn was taken to see a pediatric neurologist for the first time, as an attempt to determine if she had a condition called hydrocephalus, or fluid build-up in the brain. The neurologist decided that she had a large head and large brain, but not hydrocephalus, and determined to continue monitoring the situation. Around the same time, Jocelynn’s pediatrician mentioned to her parents that Jocelynn was not meeting development milestones like rolling over, sitting up, and attempting to crawl. Physical therapy was recommended.
In February, before Jocelynn was able to begin physical therapy, she was injured in a fall on the ice while being carried by her mother when her father was at work. Jocelynn only cried very briefly after the fall, but her mother became concerned when she would become fussy any time her leg was touched later that day. CJ had to fight through multiple doctors who criticized her for being a “young over-protective mother” as she asked them to take her concern seriously despite Jocelynn’s happy, smiling appearance in the doctor’s office the next morning. Eventually they conceded that because there was a reported fall, they were required to do an x-ray, and it was discovered that Jocelynn’s femur had been fractured in the fall. Jocelynn was admitted to the hospital and placed into a hip-spica cast. The cast extended from the bottom of her rib cage all the way to her toes on the side of her body with the fracture, and to just above the knee on the non-injured side. It meant that Jocelynn would not be able to be evaluated for physical therapy until the cast could be removed weeks later.
After the cast was removed in April, Jocelynn was due to see her pediatric neurologist for a follow-up. Jocelynn had lost a lot of weight while in the cast. Her mother had been told by her pediatrician that she should gain it back, but she was only continuing to grow without gaining weight. Then the neurologist raised a new concern. Jocelynn had lost most of the muscle tone in her legs, which could be explained by the cast, but he expressed that it did NOT explain the neurological concerns he was seeing in the rest of Jocelynn’s body. As an example, he pointed out that Jocelynn still did not have the strength in her muscles to lift her head when lying prone, or to raise her cup high enough to drink properly when sitting up. He recommended that Jocelynn not only see a physical therapist, but also a nutritionist, and that her family begin more serious testing for diseases that could cause such symptoms.
Years later in court, Jocelynn’s pediatric neurologist would testify more bluntly about how concerned he was about Jocelynn’s symptoms. He expressed that he was worried he had missed a more significant disease process that could lead to an early death. Therefore, he began testing to rule out things like Muscular Dystrophy and eventually arrived at the conclusion that what was wrong with Jocelynn was most likely some form of genetic neurological condition affecting her development. He wanted to conduct extensive genetic testing, but was concerned about bankrupting the family in the process, and therefore requested that they apply for a special form of medical insurance for disabled children before moving forward. This application was still pending when Jocelynn passed away.
Jocelynn’s health continued to be a struggle for her through the rest of her short life, but she doggedly worked to make progress. Her neurologist was relieved to rule out the most dangerous disease processes, and see her begin to improve. Her nutritionist was surprised to see that Jocelynn was eating large amounts and still not gaining weight, but finally managed to make headway after supplementing Jocelynn’s diet with PediaSure and large amount of fats. Her physical therapist praised her slow but steady move towards mobility. By June, Jocelynn was attempting to get on her knees for the first time. By July, she was combat crawling longer distances. By August, they began working with her on pulling up to standing on furniture. And family were thrilled to see her crawling with her knees fully underneath her for the first time in September, and constantly pulling herself up to standing on everything in the house.
Despite her health challenges, Jocelynn was a happy baby who loved to cuddle and absolutely adored attention. On her birthday, she had discovered while opening presents that everyone would clap, and spent most of the party tearing wrapping paper and clapping wildly to get everyone present to clap along with her. One of her favorite activities was listening, singing, and boogying to music. She had an adorable habit of throwing her arms above her head and belly-dancing to anything she particularly approved of. Hard rock and techno were preferred. Hip hop was rarely tolerated. She was highly motivated by Cheerios – which her physical therapist discovered early on was the key to getting her to strive for anything.
Jocelynn was precious to both of her parents, and loved each of them in an obvious way. She often wanted to spend hours sitting and babbling with her mother when she was home from work. She loved playing with her father as he completed the at-home physical therapy activities with her, clapping whenever he would praise her progress. She also picked up her father’s fondness for books. Her father, Clayton Allison, is an avid reader and can be seen with a book in his hands most of the time. Jocelynn used to lie next to him in the middle of the day and watch him read. Her parents bought her baby books to play with, but even if a paperback was within reach, she would watch him read and carefully turn her own pages each time he did so. Then she would stare thoughtfully at her book until she would see him signal to turn the page again.
Jocelynn’s favorite thing on Earth, though, was flowers. In June 2008, she had traveled with her parents to Portland Oregon just before the annual Rose Festival. While Jocelynn’s mother was working during the day, her father had spent the week taking her to visit the zoo and all the local gardens. Jocelynn had squealed with delight at all of the beautiful roses. After returning, ‘flower’ would become Jocelynn’s first word as her grandmother showed some to her from the planter boxes on her porch. Then, just 5 days before Jocelynn passed away, her mother brought a huge bouquet of flowers home from work which Clayton had sent for their wedding anniversary. The bouquet included a dozen red roses and stargazer lilies. As soon as Jocelynn saw it entering the house, her entire body began to tremble with excitement, and she began shouting, “Flow’! Flow’! Flow’!” with her arms raised high. CJ gave her one of the red roses, and Jocelynn began plucking each petal to smell and then throw into the air around her. She begged her mother every day to let her touch the flowers in the bouquet. To this day, Jocelynn’s mother cannot see stargazers or red roses without thinking of her daughter sitting in the pool of rose petals, and many in the family have come to call Jocelynn their ‘little flower’.
Jocelynn passed away after a tragic accident on September 24, 2008. She fell down a flight of stairs in the family’s new home, and her head impacted a wooden kitchen chair on the landing which was still piled under with heavy boxes from moving in. She managed to survive the trip to the Anchorage hospital, but died during the surgery which was attempted to try and save her life from the bleeding and swelling in her brain caused by the fall.
To her family, Jocelynn’s life stands as proof that you do not have to achieve any particular status, or accomplish some mythical standard, to have a powerful impact upon the world around you. God uses you exactly as he created you to be. Jocelynn only lived 15 brief months upon this Earth, but the small chapel used for her funeral was maxed out, with over 80 people signed in on the guestbook. Person after person got up and spoke of their favorite memories of her, or how she had impacted their life. More than one person would confess to CJ that Jocelynn was the reason they felt they had beaten their struggle with suicidal thoughts, because they couldn’t know whether something so beautiful was coming around the next corner. One woman confessed that Jocelynn changed her mind about the decision to abort pregnancies where a child would be disabled, because Jocelynn’s life had been so vibrant and happy despite her health, and her joyfulness had been so constantly apparent. Despite the pain of losing her, Jocelynn’s parents agree that they would not trade their time with her for anything in the world.
Sadly, after Jocelynn’s death, investigators and prosecutors would twist the story of both her life and her death into horrible mockeries of their true beauty. They would imply that Jocelynn was unwanted or unloved. They would characterize her has a “fussy” baby, despite her family's direct statements to the contrary. They would imply that she was neglected, despite the lengthy medical records and the testimony of family and friends completely contradicting such an accusation. They would state that the fact that she was disabled somehow meant that she was more likely to be abused, and imply that she was the kind of child that would drive someone to want to kill her. These accusations were necessary to wrongfully convict her father of her accidental death, and Jocelynn’s memory has been mutilated in the process. Ultimately, her loving father was wrongfully convicted 7 years later, in 2015, of Murder 2 after an accusation of ‘Shaken Baby Syndrome’; despite prosecutors stating to the court (outside the presence of the jury) that they did not even believe Jocelynn had ever been shaken.
As her family and friends, we ask that you spread the true story of Jocelynn Renee Allison, and the way she touched the world. We believe that her story, and her parents’ unfolding story, have the capacity to show the world the travesty that our justice system has become, and the lengths to which they are willing to soil the memories of the precious children they claim to seek justice for. Jocelynn adored her father, and would be pained to see her father, mother, aunts, uncles, and grandparents abused the way they have been.
Please fight for justice for Jocelynn, and fight to reunite the family that loved her.
Jocelynn's Reported History At Trial Was False
- During Clayton Allison's trial, a local pediatrician - Dr. Cathy Baldwin-Johnson (CBJ) - testified about her theory that Jocelynn's injuries could not have been sustained by the fall described in the provided history. In the nearly 7 years of investigation and legal proceedings, it appeared to family at trial that Dr. CBJ had never been informed of key information, including: personal accounts of Jocelynn's abilities at the time of her death; and accounts from the defendant and others that Jocelynn struck a wooden chair on the landing with her head when she fell.
- Dr. CBJ's report concluded, and she testified at trial, that Jocelynn was not able to crawl more than 3 feet without resting and was not able to pull herself into a standing position. Multiple family members told police directly and immediately that this information was outdated and incorrect; however, this information appears to have never been relayed to any of the State's medical experts. Check out the video above to see some examples of Jocelynn getting up on her knees for the first time in June, and beginning to learn to crawl as early as July - nearly 2 months before she passed away. Police interviews from people who saw Jocelynn in person in the weeks before her death have existed for more than 6 years outlining that Jocelynn possessed both the ability to crawl with her knees fully underneath her and pull herself up into a standing position, but this information was denied in court.