Update: Prior petition for badly injured baby dismissed

Published 12:43 pm Monday, August 29, 2011

A 17-month-old Austin baby who is recovering from “suspicious injuries” to her liver and spleen reportedly sustained three fractures from an unknown source earlier this summer, according to court documents.

In a child in need of protection or services (CHIPS) petition dated June 2, the baby’s injuries are described as a left tibial fracture, left radius fracture and left ulna fracture. The case was dismissed June 8 because “a determination could not be made regarding the injury not being an accidental injury,” according to court documents.

According to the petition, the baby’s mother, 21-year-old Heang Kim Sean, of Austin, told St. Marys Hospital staff the baby had fallen from her bed onto the floor. However, Sean told a Mower County Sheriff’s deputy the infant may have been hurt at daycare by the dog or an aggressive two-year-old.

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Deputies went to Sean’s home to view the bed from which the baby allegedly fell. According to the petition, the “bed is a mattress placed directly on a carpeted floor. Mattress is reported to be eight to 10 inches off the carpeted floor.”

Deputies also spoke with the daycare provider, who said the dog stays in a kennel during daycare hours and has never knocked over the baby. The daycare provider also said their two-year-old is not aggressive towards the infant, according to court documents.

According to the order for dismissal, the guardian ad litem for the baby “voiced her concerns” regarding dismissal of the case.

As of Aug. 17, Sean is court-ordered to have no contact with the baby.

According to a petition dated Aug. 15, St. Marys Hospital contacted Mower County Human Services (MCHS) on Aug. 13, saying the baby had “suspicious injuries,” including bruising to the chest, abdomen, legs, knees, inner thighs and groin area. A CT scan revealed liver lacerations, possible spleen damage, pancreatic trauma, possible bowel damage and internal bleeding, according to the petition. The petition did not make any specific references to how the infant received the injuries.

St. Marys staff informed Human Services the infant would need extensive surgery to repair the damage done to her organs. As of Aug. 14, the girl’s white blood cell count was high, indicating infection, and her platelet count was dropping, indicating liver damage. Hospital staff were attempting to stabilize her and stop the internal bleeding so she could undergo surgery.

MCHS is petitioning the court for custody and continued out-of-home placement for the baby. The petition states, “There are grave concerns regarding the safety and care of (the baby). This is an infant that has had severe, traumatic and life threatening injuries inflicted on her in the past four months. This child cannot be returned to the care and custody of her mother who is not willing to protect her.”

No criminal charges have been filed in Mower County District Court. Assistant Mower County Attorney Aaron Jones, representing MCHS in the child protection matter, said an investigation is likely continuing.

Mower County Sheriff Terese Amazi and Chief Deputy Mark May were unavailable for comment.

St. Marys Hospital would not release the infant’s condition.