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Hagerstown police investigating toddler's brain injuries

It had not been determined whether charges would be pursued or an attempt made to get a grand jury indictment

May 09, 2012|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown police and the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office are investigating the circumstances surrounding brain injuries a toddler suffered in March which a report said have left the boy with “no chance of a meaningful recovery.”

“It’s still technically in the investigative stage,” Assistant State’s Attorney Michele Hansen said Wednesday.

It had not been determined whether charges would be pursued or an attempt made to get a grand jury indictment, Hansen said.

“Obviously, the child is alive, so the charges won’t include a homicide charge at this time,” she said.

Hansen declined to reveal the name of any person police are investigating because the case is still under investigation, and no charges have been filed.

The child, now 17 months old, was taken to Meritus Medical Center on March 23, where it was determined he had skull fractures to the left and right side of his head, according to the investigative report obtained byThe Herald-Mail.

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An emergency department physician described him as “floppy” and unresponsive, the report said.

The boy was later taken to Children’s National Medical Center inWashington, D.C.On April 3, hospital staff there reviewed the child’s status with the investigating detective and members of the state’s attorney’s office, and the Safe Place Child Advocacy Center.

“The entire right side of his brain was dead,” and “there were portions of the left side of his brain which appeared to be dead or in the process of dying,” the report said.

A doctor told the detective that the injuries were “non-accidental blunt force trauma,” possibly from the child’s head being slammed against something, the report said.

The boy will require constant care and medical intervention to survive, and “has no chance to ever regain consciousness,” the report said.

The child was taken to Meritus by a private vehicle at 12:35 p.m. on March 23. The redacted report — in which most of the names have been blacked out — said the child was accompanied by several people, including the child’s father, girlfriend and the leaseholders of the residence where they all lived.

The boy’s mother was also at the hospital and told police she had dropped him off at that residence on March 21, the report said.

One of the residents of the house said that he and the boy were in the same room when, at about 10:30 a.m. on March 23, he noticed the child had a fever, decided to take him to the hospital and notified the boy’s mother by text message, the report said. The man said he had no knowledge of what happened to the child.

The interview with the man then moved “into an interrogation phase,” and he said he no longer wanted to answer questions and was escorted from police headquarters, the report said.

The room in which the child was living was described in the report as “extremely dirty; dirty diapers scattered throughout, a bottle of Captain Morgan liquor on the floor, ... prescription medication on the dresser, trash.”

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