Updated with comments from Sgt. Steve Browder, interim chief of the Hillsboro Police Department.
The father of a 30-day-old baby was arrested Wednesday afternoon after the infant was placed in a medically-induced coma in a Cincinnati hospital after allegedly being shaken until she turned purple and began to have seizures.
Martin Proctor, 27, was arrested by Hillsboro police and charged with felonious assault, a second degree felony, according to Highland County Prosecutor Anneka Collins.
Earlier, in a hearing Wednesday morning in Highland County Juvenile Court, Judge Kevin Greer told Proctor that the incident was “horrific,” and he could be facing “extremely serious criminal charges” based on the prosecutor’s findings.
Greer ordered the baby and her 8-year-old brother to be placed in the custody of Children Services.
James Roeder, assistant county proscutor, and Wendy Setty of the Children Services agency asked Greer for the protective order. Under questioning by Roeder, Setty testified about the facts alleged in the case.
According to a court filing alleging a case of abused, neglected and/or dependent children, Children Services received a report Sunday that the infant “had been transported to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital due to significant subdural hematoma.” The baby is on a ventilator due to being placed in the coma because she was having seizures, according to the filing.
The filing states that Proctor claimed he had been home with both children when he “tripped over a cord which caused him to drop (the baby). Father stated that (the baby) then began to cry, he could not get her to stop crying, he shook her and she went limp. Father reported that (the baby) then began crying so hard she turned purple and began to seize.”
However, the court document states that there were statements from others who said they heard Proctor yelling and what sounded like him punching the walls. They said they heard him yell at the baby’s mother to “shut the (expletive) baby up” prior to her leaving for work.
Approximately two weeks prior, the older child was seen to have what appeared to be a black eye, and the father told people he had punched the child, according to the filing. Law enforcement “has an ongoing criminal investigation involving this family,” according to the filing.
The filing states that hospital staff were concerned about Proctor being present, and that he became “belligerent” with the nursing staff. The baby’s injuries are life-threatening, according to the filing.
Proctor and the baby’s mother arrived a few minutes late for Wednesday’s 10 a.m. hearing, but Greer allowed them to enter the courtroom. When Proctor attempted to address Greer, the judge warned both parents that because they did not yet have an attorney and could be facing charges, he could not allow them to make a statement.
When Proctor attempted to respond, Greer told him to “keep your mouth shut” or he would be sent to jail. The judge explained the parents’ right to have court-appointed attorneys.
At one point the mother asked if she still had custody of the baby. Greer replied that temporary custody had been granted to Children Services.
Collins said Wednesday afternoon that additional charges could be filed depending on whether the infant survives.
Sgt. Steve Browder, interim chief of the Hillsboro Police Department, said later Wednesday that the infant was first brought to Highland District Hospital early Sunday, and was then sent to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital due to the nature of the injuries, where the baby was listed in critical condition.
He said he assigned two officers to the case, and the investigation is ongoing, including interviews with medical professionals and determining the events leading to the injuries. Browder said police have been working well in cooperation with Collins and Children Services throughout the investigation.
The next hearing in the case is set for April 12.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.