CONNERSVILLE, Ind. — A married couple in Connersville has been formally charged with battery and neglect of a dependent, accused of leaving their 2-month-old-child with at least five broken ribs, a broken arm, and a fractured skull.
Connersville police were contacted after Brittany and Michael Mengedoht brought their infant to the Reid Health emergency room on August 24, according to court documents. Hospital staff say the couple told them they were concerned because their son had blood in his diaper.
A responding doctor who evaluated the baby told officers he found the child had two broken femurs, a broken arm, several broken ribs, burn marks on his face, and bruising around his anus. The broken bones were reportedly in various stages of healing.
The doctor suspected the child had been the victim of shaken baby syndrome.
A Connersville police officer who went into the baby’s hospital room said he immediately noticed bruising and abrasions across the child’s entire forehead. Court documents show Brittany Mengedoht told police the bruising was the result of a spider bite. She said the abrasions were from the boy rubbing his face on clothes and the car seat.
The officer also said he saw Brittany forcefully grab the baby’s leg to lift him from the bed to remove his diaper. The doctor reportedly reminded her to be gentle since X-rays showed fractures in the child’s legs.
Both Michael and Brittany Mengedoht told police they were the sole caretakers of the infant, and he had also never been to a daycare or babysitter.
The couple was interviewed separately by investigators, and police say neither had any explanation for the child’s injuries except for the bruising on the forehead.
Court documents show Michael Mengedoht claimed the child had never been dropped nor had fallen from an elevated surface. Michael told police the only time he injured the baby was when he accidentally dropped a cell phone on his face.
When they interviewed Brittany, investigators say she admitted she may have squeezed the baby’s torso when picking him up, accounting for the broken ribs. She denied ever shaking the child.
Investigators asked her to use a doll to demonstrate how she squeezed the baby. Court documents state Brittany both forcefully squeezed and shook the doll.
The child was taken to Riley Hospital for Children where police say he was initially listed in critical condition. Once at Riley, the infant suffered several seizures and had to be intubated. The child’s current status has not been disclosed.
Staff at Riley confirmed the baby had five (possibly six) broken ribs, a broken arm, a skull fracture, and a laceration to the anus. The child also tested positive for methamphetamine and marijuana in a drug screen, according to court documents.
Brittany and Michael Mengedoht were both charged with battery with serious bodily injury to person under 14 and neglect of an infant resulting in serious injury. They are set to go trial in November.