An Ocala man has been charged with child abuse with great bodily injury to a 5-month-old
Citrus Springs child.
Arrested was Jeffrey Allen Poole, 25
, of 8705 N.W. Highway 225A. Poole worked as a laborer at Running Horse Farm in Ocala.
Investigation began in the case by Citrus County Sheriff's Office deputies on Jan. 29, the same day the child was seen by Emergency Room personnel at Seven Rivers Medical Center in Crystal River.
According to the arrest report, a CCSO investigator was told by hospital personnel the child had a fractured skull
, and was transported to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg. A CT scan was done at All Children's Hospital on Jan. 30, and showed a complex skull fracture and left parietal scalp hematoma
A final medical report from All Children's Hospital indicated the child had abusive head trauma, and that the injury indicated the child suffered a very high-force blow to his head.
The report also said the child had numerous rib fractures, and that some of ribs had been fractured repeatedly. Some rib injuries were also consistent with those caused by high-force crushing or compression type of inju
ry, the report said.
An eye exam was also performed on the child as part of the report, and an ophthalmologist documented retinal hemorrhages that were "too numerous to count
The investigator talked with Poole and child's mother, who are not married
, at the time of the child's admission to Seven Rivers Hospital. Poole told the investigator the child had rolled off a mat on the floor and into the metal leg of an antique sewing machine.
Poole and the child's mother said they were the only people in the residence at the time of the injury, and that the mother was in the bathroom at the time of the injury
Poole was arrested on Feb. 2 for driving while his license was suspended, and was incarcerated in the Citrus County Jail on those charges. While he was there, the mother of the child talked with him on Feb. 4 about the child.
During taped conversations at the jail, which both parties were advised were being made, Poole said he and the mother were the only ones who could have caused the injuries, and Pool told the mother he would make sure "they" knew she didn't do anything. Poole said he might have hurt the child, but he did not mean to. He also said he is sorry for hurting the mother and child.
Also during the conversations, the mother asked Poole if he was jealous of the attention the child gets, and he said, "That's got a lot to do with it, but that's no excuse." The mother said she didn't hurt the child, and that it had to have been him, an allegation he didn't deny. The mother then asked Poole to tell her the truth, and asked, "Did you drop him and he hit his head?" Poole answered, "Yes." She then asked why he didn't tell her, and Poole told her he was scared.
Today, the mother came to the Emergency Operations Center in Lecanto to give a sworn statement about what she had witnessed. She said that she had witnessed incidents where the defendant was too rough with the child, and she had been concerned about that but did not take any action
She told deputies she had walked in on Poole and saw him pushing down on the child's chest with both hands. When she asked what he was doing, she said, Poole told her the child was choking on something
, but Poole never called out to her for help, she said.
She also said Poole had asked her not to talk to law enforcement because they would be arrested. She said she had told him there was nothing to hide, but also said that Poole had done an Internet search for "defenses to child abuse." She also told deputies that while transporting the child initially to the hospital the child began to cry, and that Poole tried to talk her into not going to the hospital because the child was "feeling better."
Poole is being held without bond.