Friday, August 6, 2010

Dad accused of violently shaking 4-month-old daughter; baby in intensive care (Merrillville, Indiana)

This time the babysitting dad was NELSON J. SANTIAGO. Like many of these cases, Mom was at work when dad "allegedly" battered the child, causing abusive head trauma and an irreversible brain injury. The baby is in intensive care on anti-seizure medication and on a breathing machine.

M'ville man accused of shaking 4-month-old daughter, who remains in intensive care

By Chas Reilly, (219) 662-5324 Posted: Thursday, August 5, 2010 12:00 am

MERRILLVILLE A 20-year-old Merrillville man allegedly caused irreversible brain injury to his 4-month-old daughter by violently shaking the child, police said Wednesday.

Nelson J. Santiago was charged with battery, aggravated battery and two counts of neglect of a dependent Tuesday in Lake Criminal Court. Police said Santiago remained at-large as of Wednesday afternoon.

Santiago called for an ambulance after 7 p.m. July 28 because the child, who was born more than a month premature, was unresponsive, police said.

According to court documents, Santiago allegedly asked a paramedic who responded to the scene, "If I tickled her too hard, would that have caused this?"

The baby initially was taken to Methodist Hospitals Southlake Campus in Merrillville but later was airlifted to the University of Chicago Hospital after it was discovered the child suffered an injury to the right side of her brain, court documents state.

A doctor at the University of Chicago Hospital told police the baby suffered abusive head trauma consistent with shaken baby syndrome, police said. The doctor also indicated the injuries could not have been caused by any other type of trauma.

Merrillville police Detective Joe Cooper said the baby remained in intensive care Wednesday and continues to suffer uncontrollable seizures even though she was placed on anti-seizure medication.

A social worker at the hospital told police the child would have to be heavily sedated and placed on a breathing machine as the hospital attempts to control seizures.

Police said the mother of the baby told them the child was not acting out of the ordinary before she left for work about 2 p.m. July 28.

She said Santiago was "a good father," and she wasn't certain whether he was capable of causing injuries to the child, court documents state.