Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Custodial dad, girlfriend arrested for abusing 23-month-old boy; toddler has skull fracture, brain injury - what happened to the mother? (Omaha, Nebraska)

As very often happens in these accounts, the abusive father's custodial status is basically hidden and has to be teased out. The clues?

1) The reference to this being JOSHUA POWELL's son--but not Erika Duckworth's.

2) Erica Duckworth is referred to as the girlfriend (in paragraph 6), not as the mother. Though you could miss this with all the references to the "couple."

3) It took 10 days for the "couple" to seek medical attention during which time there was apparently no interaction with the boy's mother, who has been written out of this story entirely.

So who gave an abusive father like Joshua Powell custody and why? What happened to this little boy's mother??? Was she subjected to similar treatment?

Couple booked after child suffers skull fracture, experiences seizures

Joshua Powell, Erika Ducksworth charged in connection with case

Published 9:11 PM CST Jan 21, 2015

OMAHA, Neb. —Doctors said a toddler’s injuries are not consistent with a couple’s story. #The couple, Joshua Powell and Erika Ducksworth, told police Powell’s 23-month-old son fell from a couch Jan. 2 and hit his head on a tile floor. They said he seemed fine, so they didn’t seek medical attention.

Ten days later, the boy was stiff and wouldn’t wake up. Court records indicate the couple took the child to the hospital after 13 hours.

Physicians at Nebraska Medicine saw the child had an eye injury and death of brain tissue due to lack of oxygen.

“This baby suffers from very serious injuries,” said Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine. “Probably the most serious is a skull fracture, along with other significant injuries.”

Doctors said a retinal hemorrhage was the result of blunt-force trauma and “not consistent with a fall from a couch.” They said they believe the child seized all night without medical care until Powell brought his son to the hospital.

“The baby wasn’t taken to the hospital immediately after the injuries, it suffered these injuries, which is one issue, of course, we have with the father and his girlfriend,” Kleine said.

Kleine said his office has filed a petition in juvenile court to sever the couples’ ties with the child and protect four others in their home.

Powell and Ducksworth are each charged with intentional child abuse with serious injury.

Those charges, however, could change. Kleine said officials will be monitoring the baby’s health on a daily basis with medical staffers.

“Depending on the child’s condition and the child improving or not improving, that could change the charges,” Kleine said.

Nebraska Medicine indicated the boy was in fair condition Wednesday. An affidavit indicated Powell and Ducksworth told police they had no idea how the child got the other injuries, but said they should have sought medical attention.

Powell and Ducksworth will be in court for an arraignment on felony child abuse charges Thursday afternoon.