Court docs: Infant in critical condition, recovering after being shaken by Muncie father

Michael Crook Jr.

UPDATE (June 18, 2018)– Michael Crook Jr. was sentenced to 20 years, according to the prosecutor’s office. The sentence is the maximum possible under the terms of the plea agreement.

Original story: 

MUNCIE, Ind.– A Muncie infant is in critical condition after being badly shaken by his father, court documents show.

On Jan. 17, just after 9 a.m., Delaware County EMS was called to the 1200 block of West Powers Street on a report of a 4-month-old infant who was having difficulty breathing.

The father, Michael Crook Jr., 26, told authorities the child started to choke and had stopped breathing. He said he had to perform CPR twice and was able to get him breathing again.

The infant was transported to Bell Memorial Hospital before being transferred to Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.

Doctors discovered the infant was suffering from serious injuries including a bilateral subdural hemorrhage and multi-layered retinal hemorrhages. The child also had swelling in his neck ligaments.

A team of doctors specializing in child abuse examined the infant, and determined the injuries would have come from badly shaking him.

Court documents show Crook eventually admitted to becoming frustrated and shaking the baby in order to get him to stop crying. The child continued to cry and then began to vomit. When Crook went to clear the airway, he said the baby had stopped breathing and no longer had a heartbeat. That’s when he performed CPR and called 911.

Crook was watching the child after the mother went to work. She told police Crook was angry about having to wake up and care for the infant.

Crook now faces charges of aggravated battery, neglect of a dependent, obstruction of justice and habitual offender. He has a criminal history including multiple convictions for domestic battery.

The infant remains in “stable but critical” condition, authorities said.