A Minnesota man has been arrested after his girlfriend’s infant child was found unresponsive and diagnosed with severe head trauma.
Braydon Decker is supposed to be celebrating his second birthday on Oct. 1. Instead, he’s in Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, where he remains in critical condition, CBS Minnesota reported.
The child was discovered unresponsive by his mother’s boyfriend, 21-year-old Matthew Stewart, on Tuesday afternoon in Stewart's Monticello apartment.
Investigators say Stewart was putting Braydon down for a nap when the child threw a tantrum. He was alone with the child in the bedroom while the mother was elsewhere in the apartment.
Minutes later, Stewart saw Braydon appearing to be suffering from a seizure, according to the criminal complaint.
The boy was rushed to a nearby hospital where doctors determined he had suffered massive head trauma. The doctors then contacted Wright County investigators.
“It’s a very senseless assault on a very vulnerable child,” said Mark Erickson, Assistant Wright County Attorney.
Erickson said neither the boy’s mother nor Stewart reported any kind of accident or fall when they gave statements to investigators. He added that doctors said the seizure-like symptoms were consistent with that of child abuse.
“Given just the severe nature of the injuries, absence some accidental explanation such as a car accident, the diagnosis is typically child abuse,” Erickson said.
Neighbor Krista Jackson told CBS Minnesota that she would often see Braydon playing outside.
“He would call Matt ‘Daddy’ all the time,” she added. “I just don’t understand how that could even happen. When I seen Matt with him all the time and I’d never even would have guessed it.”
Stewart’s bail was set at $1 million. He is currently facing charges of first-degree assault. Other charges could follow if the child’s condition doesn’t improve.
One in 10 children are the victims of maltreatment, and there are 2.9 million reports of child abuse in the U.S. every year, according to Safe Horizon.
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