Blood dripped from the newborn’s mouth and nose as paramedics whisked him away, and police asked his parents what happened at their Atascadero home to cause the twin boy to stop breathing, according to a police report released Tuesday.
Initially, a doctor at Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton said there were no external signs of abuse suffered by the 2-month-old. But after the child was transferred to a children’s hospital in Madera, medical personnel there said the infant was the victim of shaken baby syndrome, the result of someone shaking him violently, according to an Atascadero Police Department report.
Madera hospital staff had performed several tests including a brain scan and determined that the baby suffered major internal damage. A district attorney’s official confirmed Tuesday that the baby is still alive, but the child’s condition was unknown.
The unidentified newborn’s father, Kelly Lavinge, 25, was arrested March 27 and is being held at County Jail on a $200,000 bond on suspicion of felony willful cruelty to a child with possible injury or death, jail officials said.
The police report outlines the night of March 16, when the child’s mother, whose name was not released, was hysterical. She screamed as paramedics loaded the child into an ambulance about 11:30 p.m. from her apartment in the 5800 block of Traffic Way, according to the report.
At the apartment, Lavinge told police that the newborn had vomited up food and that he may have been shaking him a little too much. He said the baby was bleeding from the mouth and nose, and he wiped it off but the child continued to bleed, so he banged on the bathroom door for the child’s mother to come out and call 911.
Lavinge initially told police he did not know what had happened, according to the report.
At the hospital, a doctor treating the newborn said he did not appear to be abused.
“There were no visible signs of external trauma and (the baby) had suffered an aspiration causing respiratory failure. In his medical opinion, there were no signs of foul play being involved,” according to the report. The infant, who could not breathe on his own and was hooked up to a ventilator, was later transferred to Children’s Hospital Central California in Madera.
The next day, a social worker called Atascadero police, saying the baby was suffering from a brain hemorrhage and retinal hemorrhaging, which is often caused by shaken baby syndrome. She asked police to contact Madera County authorities to help her take custody of both twins, according to the report.
After additional tests, doctors in Madera County said the baby was a victim of child abuse.
The newborn’s injuries “were a direct result of being shaken violently,” concluded a doctor in Madera, according to the report. “He would never regain consciousness.”
A nurse had heard the child’s mother regretting leaving the twins alone with their father, who she had been living with for about a year, and who she had filed a domestic violence report against because he allegedly pushed her while she was pregnant. He claims he grabbed her shirt.
She also said she did not trust Lavinge to care for the children because he treated them roughly, according to the report. Several days after the incident, police interviewed Lavinge again, who then said the newborn spit up on him and he was shocked. So he put the baby down and went to change his shirt but that he did not intend to hurt his son.
“It was probably an accident,” Lavinge said, according to the report. “OK, I probably got a little physical with him, but I did not get too physical with him … I was shocked. Like all this stuff got shot all over me. I got a little freaked out but I was not trying to get too physical with my son … I was not trying to hurt him or kill him.”
“I get a little mad. I am tired. I get home from work and they won’t let me go to sleep, but I have to deal with it,” Lavinge said of his circumstances since the twins’ birth. “I did not want to try and hurt my child. These boys are my life.”
During a taped phone conversation between the parents, Lavinge said the baby’s injuries were the result of him shaking the child. Lavinge is scheduled to appear in court for a pretrial hearing Thursday.