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Wichita man charged in infant’s injuries

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014, at 7:32 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, April 3, 2014, at 10:19 a.m.

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A Wichita man suspected of fracturing an infant boy’s bones in several places is facing aggravated battery and child abuse charges in Sedgwick County District Court.

Manuel Alfredo Paez-Avalos, 20, is accused of causing “great bodily harm … or disfigurement” and “knowingly inflicting cruel and inhuman corporal punishment” to the 4-month-old sometime between Nov. 13, 2013, and March 28, according to a complaint filed Wednesday in the case.

The charges arose after authorities learned late last week that the baby had suffered fractures to his arms, legs and ribs. The mother, apparently unaware of the severity of the child’s injuries, took him to a doctor’s office on Friday. He was taken to Via Christi Hospital St. Francis by ambulance after the doctor determined the baby’s injuries were inconsistent with explanations offered by the mother.

Paez-Avalos was dressed in an orange jail jumpsuit as Judge Joe Kisner advised him of the counts – one each of aggravated battery and child abuse – Wednesday afternoon. The hearing took place via video link from the Sedgwick County Jail, where Paez-Avalos is being held on $75,000 bond.

Asked whether he understood the charges, Paez-Avalos said: “I want to know how much time I’m looking at.”

“I’m not sure I can tell you that,” Kisner replied. “The primary offense in this case is a Level 4 (person) felony,” which carries a presumptive prison term of 38 to 172 months, depending on a person’s past criminal history.

Child abuse carries a presumptive sentence of 31 to 136 months in prison.

Kisner consulted the state’s criminal sentencing guidelines, then told Paez-Avalos: “As it stands right now, you’re looking at up to 206 months in prison.” That’s slightly more than 17 years.

Afterward, the 20-year-old told the judge he understood the accusations.

He is due back in court April 16 for a preliminary hearing, where a judge will hear testimony to determine whether there is substantial evidence to bind him over for trial on the crimes. Paez-Alvalos told the court Wednesday he plans to hire his own lawyer.

Authorities have described Paez-Alvalos as a “father figure” in the infant’s home. He was arrested Saturday on suspicion of the crimes. The baby, authorities have said, is expected to survive.

The infant and four other children, ages 1 to 17, were taken into protective custody after medical staff alerted police to the baby’s injuries. The older children have since been returned to their family’s care.

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

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