In Need of Care

In Need of Care: 3-month-old baby sustained traumatic brain injuries, police say

The 3-month-old boy kept throwing up. He couldn’t sleep. He was fussy.

Police allege that’s because he suffered traumatic head injuries.

Investigators arrested the infant’s 30-year-old father last week on suspicion of child abuse. The man remained at the Sedgwick County Jail on Friday evening in lieu of a $75,000 bond, records showed.

A child-in-need-of-care petition filed last week said doctors admitted the baby to Wesley Medical Center on Oct. 2 due to “abusive head trauma.” The baby suffered subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhages, the petition said. The latter is bleeding between the brain and the thin tissues that cover the brain.

The number of reports of child abuse and neglect in Sedgwick County has increased 31 percent since 2009, records from the state show.

The state agency that investigates child abuse and neglect, formerly known as SRS, received 12,989 reports in Sedgwick County in the state fiscal year that ended June 30. The department assigned 7,438 of those to a social worker for further review.

The Eagle reviews child-in-need-of-care petitions on a weekly basis and is following several cases through the system. Its “In Need of Care” series taking a look at child abuse and neglect in the community began in June with the story of a 14-year-old girl allegedly kept in a locked basement room and abused by her adoptive parents.

To protect the children’s privacy, The Eagle is not identifying them or their parents.

In the case involving the 3-month-old, a Wichita Police Department detective from the Exploited and Missing Child Unit and a social work specialist from the Kansas Department for Children and Families interviewed the father Oct. 3. Three days later, they put the baby and a 3-year-old boy in protective custody.

The father said when the baby was born, there was fluid on his brain and his head was bigger than normal, according to the petition.

The father said that he fed the baby about 3 or 4 a.m. Oct. 1, and the baby vomited. The baby’s mother tried to feed him again between 7 and 8 a.m., and the boy again threw up. The father said they called a doctor who advised bringing the baby to Wesley for a CT scan.

Wesley’s “CARE” — Child at Risk Evaluation — team met to discuss the baby’s care.

“The blood accumulation indicated chronic and acute blood, which is consistent with old and new traumatic head injuries,” the petition said.

The mother reported that she went to work the day before the baby became sick and left him with her mother. She said the baby’s father picked him up and cared for him until she came home about 10 p.m.

The mother said the baby had been on the couch with a blanket under him when the 3-year-old pulled the blanket, causing the baby to fall onto the carpeted floor. That happened in late September, she said, according to the petition. The mother of the 3-month-old also reported that her mother drinks alcohol regularly.

“Mother was unable to provide any further traumatic incidents that would have caused (the baby’s) multiple injuries,” the petition said.

The parents have a history of domestic violence, the petition alleged.

They waived their right to a temporary custody hearing Thursday, records showed. Their next hearing is scheduled Dec. 4.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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