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Minnesota baby's 'co-sleeping' death blamed on vaccines

Catie Clobes' quest for "answers" about her daughter's death has led to two billboards and a nonprofit that accepts donations and sells merchandise.

Catie Clobes' quest for "answers" about her daughter's death has led to two billboards and a nonprofit that accepts donations and sells merchandise. YouTube

After breastfeeding, Catie Clobes put her daughter Evee to bed around 9:00 p.m. on February 28, according to statements the young mom later gave to investigators.

Clobes had a sour mash strawberry whiskey drink and stayed up a couple more hours before joining her. When she woke up, Evee was not breathing and cold to the touch.

The paramedic who met Clobes in her Howard Lake home that morning found the mother still holding her daughter. The two were transported to a hospital in Buffalo, where a Wright County Sheriff's deputy examined Evee and questioned Clobes.

That day, Clobes told the deputy her daughter had "just had a clinic vist" and received two vaccination shots. "No reactions," the deputy wrote in his report. "Everything sounded and looked perfect."

The immediate investigation into Evee's death found evidence she'd slept either face-down or with her face "in contact with an object." An autopsy determined the baby's cause of death was "undetermined," but "co-sleeping with an adult was listed as a significant factor." A subsequent medical examiner's report named "positional asphyxia" and "co-sleeping on adult bed."

Urged on by a fervent online network of professional vaccine critics, Catie Clobes has since changed her mind about her daughter's reaction to those shots, and turned Evee's death into a cautionary tale, as NBC News reported Tuesday. Evee's image appears on two billboards in the Twin Cities, both reading "Healthy Babies Don't Just Die," and directing drivers to the homepage for "Health Choice Minnesota," a nonprofit with a vague, ambitious, and cryptic mission.

Health Choice's parent nonprofit "was formed in response to a study published in Academic Pediatrics that represented 43% of children (32 million) in the US suffers from a chronic health condition. It is our belief that these rates will continue to increase if parents are not aware of the unhealthy choices in their lifestyle as industrial processed foods, side effects of vaccine choices, and other environmental and lifestyle factors."

Clobes claims to have "proof" that Evee suffered side effects caused by a vaccine, though the doctor she's credited with said proof told NBC he "did not tell Ms. Clobes of any such finding," and "did not provide her or her attorney with any report which alleged any such finding."

In fact, he told Clobes the opposite, and declined to serve as an expert witness in a federal compensation program nicknamed "vaccine court."

Clobes referred questions about this purported re-evaluation to her attorney, who then didn't respond to NBC.

In mid-March, after she'd been in contact with anti-vaccine advocates, a GoFundMe was established to help fund "multiple new experts" who are "now on Evee's case." The fundraiser blew past an initial goal of $5,000, and is now more than halfway toward a new $40,000 goal. Clobes has also established a nonprofit, Justice for Evee, which both takes donations and sells merchandise, including T-shirts, pins, and bumper stickers bearing the same "Healthy Babies Don't Just Die" message as the billboards. 

The website also highlights Catie's appearance on a web series called "The Highwire," hosted by Del Bigtree, a man whose medical experience includes producing not one, but two daytime TV talk shows featuring doctors (Dr. Phil, The Doctors). That segment, in which Clobes -- and a haunting music bed -- ascribe impending doom to her daughter's shaking-head refusal of solid food, can be seen below: