Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Dad charged with abusing 40-day-old daughter (Ocala, Florida)

Dad is identified as DEVIN JOHN CHAMPAGNE.


Father charged with child abuse
By Austin L. Miller Staff writer Published: Friday, August 21, 2015 at 4:58 p.m. Last Modified: Friday, August 21, 2015 at 4:58 p.m.

OCALA – Without hesitation, Devin John Champagne said he deserves to be locked up at the Marion County Jail for abusing his infant daughter.

Champagne said the girl, Skylar Champagne, is 40 days old and that he broke her arm because he was frustrated.

“Yes, I think I should be arrested because I did it. I was trying to calm her down from her being fussy,” said the 18-year-old Champagne during an interview Friday afternoon while he was sitting on an aluminum bench at the jail.

Champagne was arrested Thursday by Marion County Sheriff's Office detective Thomas Newbanks and was charged with aggravated child abuse and child abuse.

On Friday, Champagne faced a judge via video link from the jail to the courthouse. He said his bail was set at $25,000 and that he is being represented by the Public Defender's Office.

According to Newbanks' report, the baby has six possible fractures: Three in her right leg, one in her left arm and two in her ribs.

Champagne agreed to take a polygraph, which, officials said, he failed. Champagne was then interviewed by Newbanks and admitted grabbing the baby's arm and forcefully twisting and pushing down. He said he heard a pop and realized the girl was injured. He also said that, at times, he would forcefully hold the victim's legs down, according to Newbanks' report.

Officials said they believe the fractures to the baby's legs may have come from Champagne holding her legs.

During the interview at the jail, Champagne, said he did not know why his daughter was fussing and that he had her arms folded “trying to calm her down" and "heard a pop.” He said Skylar was “never a quiet child” and has always been a “very active child.” He said any other injuries sustained by his daughter were not made by him.

Newbanks' report states that personnel at a hospital told him the injuries suffered by the child were indicative of child abuse.

Newbanks talked with the girl's mother, who said she and Champagne went out and left the child with his mother. When they got home, she said, her daughter was fine and was sleeping. She said she left the bedroom and was outside for about two to five minutes. When she came back inside, she said, Champagne told her it appeared their child was injured.

Champagne's mother told the detective that her son and the child's mother had been arguing all day and that she had gone to Wal-Mart to pick up her grandchild from its parents. She said when she got home, the child was fine. The woman said she was at the home when the child was injured and that she is the one who took her to the hospital.

Champagne said that as far as he knows, his daughter is at an Orlando hospital under the custody of the Department of Children and Families.

A DCF spokesperson confirmed Friday that the infant remains in an Orlando hospital and said she will be sheltered from Champagne. As the investigation continues, the representative said, the child may be released to her mother.