Weatherford Democrat

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August 9, 2012

Indictments include abuse of baby charge

PARKER COUNTY — A Parker County Grand Jury has indicted a man who, authorities say, confessed to spanking his 9-month-old daughter after a relative brought the baby to the hospital in June for severe bruising.

Darrell Eugene Read, 22, was indicted by the grand jury Thursday on a third degree felony charge of injury to a child with intent to cause bodily injury.

A cousin — who found the baby sitting in a hot room, crying, with marks on her face, and the child’s parents arguing — obtained permission to take the girl and her young brothers from the residence on Crown Road near Springtown and later took the baby to the hospital, court records indicate.

There, the girl was found to be significantly underweight and covered in bruises, including both legs, upper thighs, buttocks, both hips, back and face.

She had severe diaper rash as well as a torn tongue frenulum, typically occurring when a bottle or pacifier is aggressively forced into the mouth, according to medical staff.

Her ears, which had a bloody discharge, appeared sensitive and abrasions covered her head.

She wore a newborn-size diaper at the age of 9 months and had lost weight in recent months, according to court records.

CPS removed the girl, along with her 2-year-old and 3-year-old brothers, from the family.

According to authorities, Read told investigators that he went to check on the baby that morning after she began “whimpering,” when she threw a “hissy fit” and didn’t cooperate when he tried to change her “nasty, stinky diaper.”

His daughter didn’t realize he had other children to care for and now wanted “human food,” he reportedly said, adding that she didn’t like him and would throw a fit for no reason.

He put her in her hot room, not for punishment, but to separate her from the situation and he later moved her further back in the house to avoid hearing her cry, he reportedly said.

One minute she was fine, the next minute he would have to spank her, he allegedly told investigators.

She seemed spoiled and didn’t seem to learn as fast as the boys did, he said, according to court documents.

Her father reportedly admitted to swatting the baby five to 10 times between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., hitting her bottom hard enough to “shake her up a little.”

He said he told her if she wanted something to cry about, he’d give her something to cry about, saying he then got more skin than diaper, according to the affidavit.

At one point he “popped” her in the mouth and her teeth cut his hand, he reportedly said, denying he hit her across her head and cheeks.

People tell him he is mean and hateful but the fact is the world is mean and hateful, he allegedly said.

During an interview, the couple’s oldest child reportedly indicated his father had slapped the girl, that his father was “mean,” and that he didn’t want the baby to die.

The child’s mother reportedly told investigators the girl had no bruises when she left that morning but she found her baby with a red face and bruising on her leg. Read told her that he needed to leave before he did something really bad, she reportedly told investigators. However, he wanted to bring the couple’s oldest child.

The mother’s cousin told investigators she drove up and found the couple arguing.

The baby’s mother told her Read didn’t agree with the way the mother disciplined and that he said she let them get away with everything and didn’t discipline them, the cousin reportedly told investigators. The mother indicated the bruise on the baby’s leg was Read’s fault and it was not the only time it had happened, though she didn’t say what had happened, the cousin reportedly said. The girl’s mother told her that Read had torn up the house and left the bruise on the baby, she reported to investigators, according to the affidavit.

At that point, the family member asked to babysit and took the children home with her, where the girl was found to have a 103-degree fever despite several minutes inside a cool house and she decided to take the child to the hospital, she reportedly told investigators.

The family has a history with Child Protective Services, including Read himself being removed from his family as a child and placed in foster care.

Cook Children’s Hospital told investigators that the girl’s older brother, now 2 years old, was brought in at the age of 5 months with a broken arm.

Staff told investigators that Read told them at the time that he had put the baby to bed, walked out and returned to find the 5-month-old boy with a twisted arm. A Parker County investigator stated he believed the case had been called in to CPS for the injuries. However, CPS could not locate the case, the affidavit states.

In July 2011, CPS received a referral regarding the two boys, alleging the children were often dirty, were not bathed, had lice and were staying with family members in a house without air-conditioning. The referral also claimed Read had broken his child’s arm three months prior and the case was closed.

The disposition on the July 2011 referral was “administrative closure,” according to court records.

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