Dying mother saves baby's life with her last breath

Jessica Arrendale and her daughter Cobie: "She had pure will. She wanted that baby to live."
Jessica Arrendale and her daughter Cobie: "She had pure will. She wanted that baby to live." Photo: Facebook

A mother is being hailed a hero for saving her baby's life by placing the six-month-old in a toilet bowl, despite the fact she was dying from a gunshot wound herself.

Jessica Arrendale was holding little Cobie as she hid in the bathroom while drunken and abusive partner Antoine Davis was on a violent rampage. 

The former US marine broke down the bathroom door and shot Ms Arrendale dead. Rather than falling straight to the ground, the 33-year-old mother managed to fall towards the toilet and place the baby in the bowl before collapsing on top of her. 

Baby Cobie: survivor of the murder-suicide.
Baby Cobie: survivor of the murder-suicide. Photo: Facebook

It is believed this saved the little girl's life as Davis was unable to find her.

When police arrived at the home they found Davis had shot himself dead in Cobie's bedroom, where it is believed he went to look for the little girl.

Cobie was found in the toilet alive, but suffering from hypothermia.

"He shot her and [the police] don't know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction," Ms Arrendale's mother Teresa Ionniello told local station WSB Radio. "She had pure will. She wanted that baby to live."

Shockingly, the murder-suicide in the Atlanta suburb of Smyrna was also witnessed by Davis' two older daughters, aged 9 and 10, from a previous relationship.

The older girls' mother, Tamara Chesley, said one daughter told her that her father had stared at her for a "very long time" before she asked him, "Daddy, what are you doing?"

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Davis then went upstairs with a gun and the daughter heard Ms Arrendale screaming and then a gunshot.

Police were called to the family's home in the early hours of Sunday September 14 responding to reports that someone was armed with a gun. 

Ms Ionniello said Davis had been "belligerently drunk and abusive" on the weekend of the murder.

Dad of three Antoine Davis served as a marine in Iraq, according to his ex-wife.
Dad of three Antoine Davis served as a marine in Iraq, according to his ex-wife. Photo: Facebook

Ms Arrendale picked up a baseball bat to defend herself but he overpowered her and struck her with the bat, Ms Ionniello said.

Ms Arrendale then barricaded herself in the bathroom with baby Cobie as Davis went to get his assault rifle from the wardrobe.

When police arrived at the scene they evacuated nearby homes and tried to make contact with Davis. After those attempts were unsuccessful, officers forced their way into the house and found the carnage.

It is thought Cobie may have been hit with the baseball bat while her father was attacking her mother, as she also had a head injury when she was found in the toilet.

Davis had served as a marine in Iraq and was reportedly involved in a custody battle with Ms Arrendale over Cobie.

A family friend Leslie Tidwell has set up a GoFundMe page for Cobie and Ms Arrendale's 15-year-old daughter, who was not at the home at the time of the shootings.

On the page Ms Tidwell wrote: "An amazing mother, daughter, sister and friend was taken way too soon. Jessica was one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. This fund has been set up for the two children that she has left behind."

Cobie is still being treated at hospital and there are plans for Ms Arrendale's mother to take custody of the baby.