There's no question that a mother's love is an incredible force.
After being shot in head, Jessica Arrendale found the strength to save the life of her 6-month-old daughter, by hiding her from the gunman in a toilet.
“She had pure will,” Arrendale’s mother, Teresa Inniello, told WSB Radio. “She wanted that baby to live.”
On September 13, 2014, Jessica came home from a night out with her daughter Cobie's father, Antoine Davis, when he became violent. With the baby in her arms, she tried to defend herself with a baseball bat, but was overpowered and suffered several blows.
After being chased up the stairs by her attacker, Jessica locked her and 6-month-old Cobie in the bathroom of their 3-story Atlanta-area townhome. The former Marine, who served in Iraq, retrieved his assault rifle and broke down the door, shooting Jessica in the head.
With the baby still in her arms, Jessica twisted her body to place the child in the open toilet bowl and laid her body over her daughter to protect her.
“He shot her and [the police] don't know how she was able to twist her body and fall literally in the opposite direction, said Teresa.
Cobie's grandmother believes that Antoine intended to kill both the mother and baby, but was unable to see the child from inside the toilet bowl which was covered with Jessica's body. After leaving the bathroom, he walked into the baby's room and shot himself.
After not being able to contact anyone in the townhouse, police sent in a robot to investigate for fear of sparking violence. After the machine couldn't negotiate the stairs, police stormed the townhouse and discovered the baby still hidden in the toilet.
Colbie had been hiding there for 13 hours and when she was found by police she was taken to hospital to be treated for a traumatic head injury and hypothermia.
In addition to the couple's 6-month-old, Antoine was said to have 2 daughters from a previous marriage aged 9 and 10. His ex-wife Tamaira Chesley, said that Antoine had been struggling with depression lately.
Teresa already cares for Jessica's 15-year-old daughter Naomi, and says she hopes to bring Cobie home soon.
“[My daughter] was the hero,” Ionniello said, “because her last breath was saving the child.”