My name is Tom Dozier, and my wife Laura and I live in Mt. Pleasant, S.C. We have a story to tell. Unfortunately, it’s a sad story, but it’s one that needs to be told.
Laura and I were married in March 2010, and we were anxious to start a family. After some initial struggles, we found out that Laura was pregnant with twins in March 2013. The pregnancy was relatively uneventful for a twin pregnancy, and Sanders Elizabeth and Thomas “Slade” Dozier, Jr. were born at 33 weeks on October 18, 2013. They spent three weeks in the nursery at East Cooper Hospital dealing with some minor issues associated with prematurity. But things were good—really, really good. We brought the twins home on November 8 and began our new life together as a family of four.
The first few months were challenging, but we had lots of support and we made it through. Sanders and Slade grew so quickly, and each day seemed like something new was happening with one or both of them. As their personalities began to develop, initially Sanders was fairly reserved (although you would never know it now). Slade, however, was as happy and carefree as a child could be. There was no way to be around him and not smile. The first year went by quickly and soon we were at their first birthday. They continued to mature and grow and everything was wonderful.
In April 2015, Laura took the twins to spend the weekend with her parents in Murrells Inlet. I was on call that weekend and stayed home. They had a normal day and that evening, Laura put the twins to bed. Early in the morning on April 25, 2015, she went in to check on them and found every parent’s worst nightmare. Slade was laying lifeless in his crib. They did CPR but Laura knew he was gone the moment she found him.
On that day, our lives changed forever. Our hearts were broken and we were devastated. Sanders’s sweet brother would not be around for them to grow up together. He died without warning, foreshadowing or preceding illness. After a thorough medical examination, autopsy and toxicology, the cause of his death was deemed unexplained and fit into a category called Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood (SUDC).