Foster mother charged with beating, critically injuring 2-year-old boy

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UPDATE:

Shiretta Edwards was sentenced to nine years with three years suspended. She'll spend four years in the Department of Correction and another two years on work release.

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (May 27, 2015) - An Indianapolis foster mother is facing felony charges in the severe beating of a 2-year-old boy that has left the child in critical condition for several days.

Shiretta Edwards, 40, faces several charges including aggravated battery, battery, and dealing in narcotics.

The charges stem from an emergency call around 9:45 p.m. Saturday at an apartment in the 5000 of Hawthorn Terrace, on the city’s northeast side.  Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Officers arrived to find the 2-year-old boy unresponsive.  His injuries were immediately obvious.

“It was discovered that the child has a non-accidental head trauma, suspicious bruises and abrasions, to include multiple areas of the neck, face, head,and lower back,” according to the IMPD incident report.

As the boy was rushed to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health, police say Edwards told them the child had been injured in a bicycle accident.  But she later confessed to becoming angry with the boy throughout the day and slamming his head and body into the floor multiple times.  During the course of the interview, police say Edwards became offended when they referred to her as the parent of the boy.

The boy was still listed in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon, four days after the incident.  At one point, police say the child was on a ventilator at Riley.

The child abuse detective working on the case says Edwards had been treating foster children as a sort of “family business.”  She was receiving $50 per day for each of the two children in her care.  And the detective says Edwards would only request children with medical needs so she could receive more money.

IMPD Officer Chris Wilburn says the case has been difficult even for veteran detectives.

“We’re exposed, as law enforcement professionals, to crimes against children that will make your heart stop,” said Wilburn.  “We have some seasoned investigators on this case who sometimes have to compartmentalize those feelings.  And I will tell you that’s tough.”

Edwards was being held in the Marion County jail with her initial court appearance scheduled for Thursday afternoon.  Details on the dealing narcotics charge should become clear after formal charges are filed.

A sibling of the injured boy was also removed from the home and taken into custody by the Department of Child Services.

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