A 2-month-old boy remained in critical condition Thursday, his medical future still controlled by his father, who police say beat the infant into a coma more than a month ago.
The father, 23-year-old Michael L. Cramer, is being held in a Chicago jail, where he awaits extradition back to Milwaukee. His wife said lawyers are working to sever his parental rights, so she could make end-of-life decisions for the baby on her own.
According to a criminal complaint charging child abuse, Cramer injured the boy Feb. 17 while his wife was at a doctor's appointment.
The child, Matthew Cramer, was admitted to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin where, police said, he was in a stable but comatose state. Matthew had a pulse when he was admitted but required help breathing.
A doctor told police Matthew "had acute bleeding around the brain, subdural hemorrhaging, retinal bleeding behind both eyes, linear bruising to the left arm and left thigh area and consistent abusive head trauma,"
the complaint says.
A spokeswoman for the hospital said Thursday that she was not permitted to comment on the condition of children who are the alleged victims of abuse.
But the child's 22-year-old mother, Candace Cramer, said that after weeks of treatment, her son's condition has not improved.
"The cells in his brain have begun to die," she said. "There does not seem to be anything the doctors can do."
Candace Cramer said she is furious that, for now at least, Michael Cramer retains his rights as the boy's father and has a say in the medical decisions concerning her son. She said lawyers are looking for a way to sever his rights.
"He already decided if Matthew was to live or die the day he hurt him," she said.
According to the complaint, Michael Cramer told police he placed Matthew on a couch while he took a shower. He said the baby was no longer breathing when he checked on him 10 to 15 minutes later.
When police told him the child's injuries indicated blunt force trauma, Michael Cramer told them "he didn't know right from wrong anymore and didn't know himself anymore," according to the complaint.
Cramer allegedly told police he wanted to tell Candace Cramer what happened before he talked to them.
Cramer "stated that he would be judged no matter what he said and that he would be viewed as a child abuser," the complaint says.
Candace Cramer said her husband told her he injured Matthew while playing with him.
Michael Cramer was charged with child abuse Feb. 21. He posted $1,000 bond Feb. 24 and fled to Illinois. He also is charged with felony bail jumping and faces a total of 18 1/2 years in prison.
If Matthew dies, Michael Cramer could face homicide charges as well.
Candace Cramer, who without a car and a job takes a bus to the hospital each day to see her son, said she is not ready to let go of her child.
"I am going to wait until all has been done," she said. "I am going to wait until the doctors say, 'There is nothing else we can do.' "