NEW PORT RICHEY, FL (December 12, 2019) – According to an online news article published by patch.com, a 32-year-old Florida man is facing aggravated child abuse charges after his 16-month-old daughter was severely injured and listed as being in critical condition.
A 16-month-old baby is currently on a ventilator and in critical condition after being allegedly abused by her 32-year-old father. The baby had "significant bruising on the face and back," and was diagnosed with a subdural hematoma, which is a traumatic brain injury that results in bleeding in the brain. The baby is now receiving treatment at a children's hospital.
According to the local Sheriff's Office, the 32-year-old Florida father was watching his daughter between the hours of 4:30 p.m. on December 5, 2019, to 5:30 a.m. on December 6, 2019, when his wife arrived home from work. The father reportedly told law enforcement officials that on the evening of December 5, 2019, he put his 16-month-old daughter in a Pack n' Play playpen to sleep, stating that she did not have any bruises on her face at the time she went to sleep.
The father stated that the baby did "make some sounds during the night," but this was not unusual for her. The father further said that when he woke up around 7:30 a.m. on December 6, 2019, he noticed injuries on his daughter's face. The father told detectives that "the baby must have inflicted the bruises herself during the night," and that the bruising on the back may have resulted from the baby placing "wooden blocks on the floor and then repeatedly drop[ing] on top of them" with her back down.
The baby's mother told detectives that at the time she went to work on December 5, 2019, her baby daughter did not have any facial bruising. When she arrived home from work around 5:30 a.m. on December 6, 2019, she did not wake the baby, and only became aware of her baby's injuries around 7:30 a.m. when the father woke the baby. Upon discovering the injuries, the mother told the father to take the baby to the hospital.
Detectives were contacted by the hospital to investigate the baby's injuries, and at the time of the baby's arrival to the hospital, she "was barely moving and would not open her eyes." The parents allowed detectives to download messages from their cell phones, and one message sent from the father to the mother/wife on October 12, 2019, stated that "[s]he was laying down. She apparently wants a knuckle sandwich for dinner." The father was later charged with aggravated child abuse.
Child Abuse Under Florida Law
Child abuse without the enhancement of "aggravated," is defined as (1) intentionally inflicting physical or mental injury upon a child, (2) committing an intentional act that could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child, or (3) active encouragement of any person to commit an act that results or could reasonably be expected to result in physical or mental injury to a child.
Under Florida Statute Section 827.03, a person may face charges of aggravated child abuse if he or she allegedly (1) commits aggravated battery on a child, (2) willfully tortures, maliciously punishes, or willfully and unlawfully cages a child, or (3) knowingly or willfully abuses a child and in so doing causes great bodily harm, permanent disability, or permanent disfigurement to the child.
A person found guilty of aggravated battery in Florida faces a first-degree felony which carries potential jail time of up to 30 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000.