MUNCIE -- A Muncie couple were arrested this week after their five-week-old son was found to be suffering from brain damage and multiple injuries to his arms, legs and ribs, allegedly as a result of abuse.
Michael R. Wihebrink, 25, 1500 E. Dartmouth Ave., and Crystal L. Saunders, 19, 2103 N. Wolf St., were being held without bond Wednesday in the Delaware County jail, preliminarily charged with neglect of a dependent causing serious bodily injury, a Class B felony carrying a standard 10-year prison term.
Wihebrink is also preliminarily charged with a second Class B felony, battery of a child.
The couple's son was taken to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis on Monday, where he is still under care, according to Muncie Police Sgt. Jimmy Gibson. Riley officials said Wednesday they could not confirm whether the baby was still a patient there, or the child's condition.
"I don't have a prognosis for him," Gibson said. "I don't think he's in critical danger."
According to a probable cause affidavit, Riley Hospital officials notified the Muncie Division of Child Services that the boy had suffered several injuries, including an apoxic head injury, with damage to the brain due to the lack of oxygen.
Gibson said Riley officials told his office last night that there was also evidence of an epidural hematoma, which causes bleeding between the skull and the brain's covering.
Other reported injuries to the infant included breaks to both upper arms, a broken lower arm, a broken collar bone, a spiral fracture of the lower leg, a broken femur and evidence of already-healing injuries to the boy's wrists and ribs -- all apparently the result of abuse from his parents.
"It looks like he'd been hurt previously in his short little life, and it had already began to heal some," Gibson said. "This didn't all happen at one time."
According to the police report, Saunders originally told police on Monday one of the child's arms could've been broken when the mother "caught the child as it fell from her sitting on a couch with the baby."But when questioned by police the next day, Saunders admitted that she had also seen Wihebrink "shaking, holding the baby tight, cupping his hand over the baby's mouth, and yelling at the infant to 'Shut the ---- up, you whining b----."
Saunders also admitted to waiting a day to seek treatment of her son after hearing a "thump on the floor" from the other room when Wihebrink on Sunday was allegedly attempting to burp the crying child.
Police located Wihebrink on Tuesday, where he was questioned about the abuse allegations. During the interview, Wihebrink admitted to having an "anger problem."
Wihebrink -- who told police he suffers from "memory problems" -- also said he "may have" caused the child to break his arm on Sunday, but said he "couldn't remember" if he caused the other injuries to the baby, saying it was possible, according to the police report.
Wihebrink is no stranger to local authorities, having been booked into the Delaware County jail nine times. He was convicted of battery by body waste (in 2006), possession of marijuana (2008) and receiving stolen property (2004).
Court records reflected no prior charges or convictions for Saunders.
Gibson said the infant involved already had prior medical issues, including a case of kidney renal failure that he was set to receive surgery for in the coming months.
•Contact reporter Andrew Walker at 213-5845.