A young father who might be called baby-faced himself was jailed over the weekend on an aggravated child abuse charge and $25,000 bond as the result of a two-week investigation into the alleged abuse of his 17-week-old son, who was apparently interfering with the father’s planned jog.
The incident took place two Mondays ago, on Oct, 24. Edward Parker, 18, an unemployed native of Daytona Beach who lives on Berrybush Street in the Mondex (or Daytona North), had woken up at noon that day. He’d volunteered to take care of his child so his girlfriend and the child’s mother, also 18, could do her schoolwork at her own home. He drove her there and came back.
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The child began to cry. So Parker made him a bottle, placed him in a vibrating chair designed for children, buckled him using the safety restraints, and fed him the bottle, according to a police report. The child fell asleep. Parker prepared for his run. But the child woke up again. “Really, right now”: That’s what Parker told an investigator he was thinking when the baby woke up again, and that the baby, his father thought, was “being a little turd.”
Parker picked up the child and, in his first account to police, said he held him against him and rocked him when the child became unresponsive. Parker sat down on the bed with the child, tried to stand him up on his lap, but the child’s head fell back and the child remained unresponsive. Parker became alarmed and drove the baby to Florida Hospital Flagler, a 15-mile drive through daytime traffic that takes around 25 minutes. He told cops there was no chance the baby had fallen out of the vibrating chair.
At the hospital, where Parker was joined by his father and grandmother, the baby got a head scan. Michael Gibbons, an Emergency Room physician, said the baby was suffering from a subdural hematoma, or hemorrhage, in the left side of his brain—a deadly form of head injury that causes rapid bleeding in the brain and is usually, but not always, the result of blunt force. Subdural hematomas can also occur inexplicably, particularly in the very young ort the old, but very rarely.
Gibbons told police the injuries to the baby were consistent with shaken baby syndrome. When the doctor asked Parker if he’d shaken the baby, he said he rocked him to stop from crying. The baby was taken to Wolfson pediatric Hospital in Jacksonville, where findings worsened. Bruce McIntosh, a physician with the Children Advocacy Center Protective Team with 35 years’ experience in investigations of child abuse, told a Flagler County Sheriff’s detective that in his professional opinion, the child had been abused, and Parker had been the abuser, and that the injuries, according to a police report, were caused by a combination of the child “being slammed onto a soft surface such as a bed and also from being shaken.”
The child had also suffered a contusion to the eye, “caused by some type of blunt force trauma,” the doctor told the investigator, and that the child became symptomatic almost immediately. A report by McIntosh produced two days later revealed that the child also suffered from a corner fracture on his left femur, that the broken bone showed no sign of healing, and that the injury was consistent with abuse, according to the report.
The day the detective got the report, he also got a call from Parker, who told the detective he had to speak to him: that it was an emergency. The detective and a deputy drove to the hospital in Jacksonville, where Parker’s father told the detective that McIntosh had just explained to the family that Parker had caused the child’s injuries. Parker got upset and left the hospital. For a time, no one could find him until the detective was able to reach him and convince him to talk. Parker reenacted the incident with the child—using a tissue box to represent the baby—but the details of his interview have been heavily redacted.
The child remains at the hospital in Jacksonville as of today. Parker was booked into the Flagler County Jail on Friday, where he remains.