Mother charged with felony child abuse of 3-year-old

Prosecutors Monday charged the mother of a 3-year-old boy with felony child abuse in a case where police said the boy suffered critical head injuries.

According to Sedgwick County District Court papers filed Monday, Mary M. Harkins, 41, was charged with causing "great bodily harm" to the boy around last Thursday.

The boy's mother, Harkins, remained in jail Monday evening under a $100,000 bond.

She faces a preliminary hearing on Sept. 6.

The 3-year-old's condition has improved from critical to serious, Wichita police Lt. Jeff Weible said Monday. In an e-mail, Weible said, "The child is improving each day."

According to a preliminary police report, a 70-year-old woman, apparently a relative, said that the mother hit her son, causing injuries.

On Friday, Weible said of the incident: "It sounds like there was some frustration involved" on the part of the mother. Weible wouldn't elaborate.

The mother had indicated that her son tripped and fell and struck his head, but investigators "developed probable cause that these injuries were caused by abuse," he said.

The child and his mother had been alone at a house in the 5600 block of North Sullivan in Wichita, Weible said. In court papers, Harkins said she lives at the North Sullivan address and is unemployed.

A 911 dispatcher received a call from a woman at 10:42 a.m. Thursday that her 3-year-old child was unresponsive, Weible said.