East Tennessee Child with E. Coli Dies in Hospital

Newport (WVLT) - The Newport community is in mourning after a baby girl dies from E. Coli. East Tennessee Regional Health Department officials say Jaycee Burgin's death is a rare and isolated case.

WVLT Volunteer TV's Liz Tedone has been following this story all week and has an update.

In one week, 20-month-old Jaycee Burgin went from experiencing viral-like symptoms, to life support. Last night, she died at UT Medical Center after complications from being infected with E. Coli. We spoke with her mom off camera and a community that's shocked and saddened.

Coworkers of Jaycee's mom at National Bank of Tennessee have heavy hearts. They remember the day the little girl was born and have watched her grow up.

"Oh she's a very vibrant, pretty little girl. She competed in some local pageants. She's done very well in those... Just a happy, happy little girl," coworker Karen Worex said.

At 20 months old, Jaycee love to talk, smiled a lot and was the pride and joy of her family. A family that' s now brokenhearted and asking why.

"My understanding is the only thing they know is just a small bite of hamburger steak that she had ate," Worex said.

WVLT has learned the parents believe Jaycee got sick after eating at a Newport restaurant a week ago Saturday. Her mom, Leah, tells us off camera that daughter never had any other ground beef before that night. As the East Tennessee Regional Health Department looks into a food source, the Burgins make plans to bury their baby.

Josh Spurgeon is a preacher and family friend who'll be presiding over the funeral.

"I talked to Joe, Jaycee's father, and I told him I'm sorry, and it's hard to understand why these things happen, especially to someone so young, but I told him the Bible says his ways are higher than ours," Spurgeon said.

Spurgeon was at the family's side last night when Jaycee died.

"And I learned that they were real strong Christians, even in their beliefs that God was going to move on the baby, and when the baby passed, I believe they were stronger than I could have been," Spurgeon said.

The Burgin family will receive friends from 6 to 9 Thursday night at Manes Funeral Home on East Main Street in Newport. The funeral will be at 10 a.m. Friday morning with a burial to follow at Stokely Cemetery in Del Rio.

We met up with Jaycee's mom, Leah, to get some pictures for our broadcast. She's holding up remarkably well. She was going to find a dress for her daughter's funeral and was hoping to hold her one last time.

There's also a fund for the Burgin family that's been set up through the National Bank of Tennessee. You can drop donations off at the bank, PO Box 669, Newport, TN 37822.

Stay connected to Volunteer TV news and volunteertv.com for continued coverage of this developing news story.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station. powered by Disqus