Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Dad charged with abusing 7-month-old son, baby has severe brain damage (Sturtevant, Wisconsin)

It seems the baby was in Daddy's care for only the short time that Mom was at the park with the other kids.

Dad is identified as JUSTIN GARDNER.


Teen Father Charged with Shaking Baby

A young father is charged with shaking his baby and causing severe brain damage to the child.

By Heather Asiyanbi
May 20, 2013

A seven-month-old baby boy remains in an Illinois hospital after police say his father shook him and caused the baby's brain to swell.

Justin Gardner, 19, of Sturtevant, was charged Monday in Racine County Circuit Court with a single count of felony child abuse. If convicted, he faces up to 3-1/2 years in prison and/or up to $10,000 in fines.

According to the criminal complaint, Gardner's seven-month-old baby was transported to the hospital on May 6 for possible seizures. Based on an emergency assessment of the baby's condition, he was then transported to Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois. There, doctors diagnosed him with two separate brain bleeds.

At first, the baby's mother tried to explain the injuries were a result of the baby falling and hitting his head on a carpeted floor, but after interviewing Gardner, police determined the injuries were caused by being shaken, the complaint reads.

Part of the doctor's report included in the complaint against Gardner reads, "The extended timeline of bleeding is worrisome for abuse, over a duration of days, and the story of a fall off the chest a few inches does not seem to correlate with the findings.”

The boy's mother told police that Gardner sometimes "plays too rough" with the baby and that on several occasions he put the child in a bouncy seat and shook the seat to try and get the baby to stop crying, the complaint reads.

On May 5, Gardner reportedly told officers he could have inflicted Shaken Baby Syndrome when the baby wouldn't stop crying as Gardner tried to feed him rice cereal. The baby was in the bouncy seat at the time, the complaint confirms.

Police say that on May 6, the child's mother left the baby in Gardner's care while she took other children to the park. When she returned, the baby was limp and gasping for air.

Gardner says he propped the baby up in the bouncy seat with a bottle and went to take a shower, police say. When he got out of the shower, the baby was gasping for air and had stiff arms so Gardner ran to a downstairs apartment with the baby and called 911.

Gardner remains in the Racine County Jail on a $10,000 cash bond. His next court appearance is on May 29 for a preliminary hearing.