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Two charged with child abuse of 3-month-old

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at 6:45 a.m.
  • Updated Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at 6:48 a.m.

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Prosecutors this week filed criminal charges against a couple who took their 3-month-old son to a Wichita emergency room last week, claiming he became unresponsive after a bath.

Aaron S. Piland, 26, faces three counts of aggravated battery, one count of child abuse and one count of aggravated endangering of a child, stemming from what police have called “very serious and severe internal injuries” to the baby that were discovered by Wesley Medical Center staff on Jan. 28 and deemed inconsistent with the parents’ explanations.

The child’s mother, 28-year-old Christina M. Schulte, has been charged with one count of child abuse and one count of aggravated endangering a child. Both are accused in a criminal complaint of inflicting “cruel and inhuman corporal punishment” on the 3-month-old between Jan. 1 and Jan. 27.

Piland, who identified himself as a fast-food worker earning minimum wage on an application for court-appointed counsel, is also accused of “unlawfully and knowingly caus(ing) great bodily harm … or disfigurement” to the baby on Jan. 28 and at least two occasions between Jan. 1 to Jan. 27.

The document lists the infant’s vulnerability and allegations of “excessive brutality” among aggravating factors prosecutors contend justify a departure from the presumptive sentence in one of Piland’s battery charges.

The infant remained hospitalized Thursday, a Wesley operator said. He was in serious condition.

Piland and Schulte, who were arrested Jan. 29 following interrogation by law enforcement, are due in court for their preliminary hearings Feb. 19. Each is being held in Sedgwick County Jail on $250,000 bond.

Police have said the couple moved to Schulte’s parents’ west Wichita home from Hutchinson in earlier January. Their injured son, as well as two other young children in their care, were placed in protective custody by police.

Reach Amy Renee Leiker at 316-268-6644 or aleiker@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @amyreneeleiker.

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