Man charged after child is hospitalized at Kosair
A Palmyra man faces charges of aggravated battery after his girlfriend’s two-year-old daughter was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.
Dustin J. Conner, 23, was arrested Friday night after officers from the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept. and the Indiana State Police questioned him. They believe the toddler suffered from Shaken Baby Syndrome or Shaken Impact Syndrome at the hands of Conner.
Capt. Richard Bauman of the sheriff’s department said he was contacted about 3:40 p.m. by a detective from the New Albany Police Dept. who had responded to a call from Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in New Albany about an unconscious child who had been brought there. The child was transferred to Kosair Children’s Hospital in Louisville, where she had emergency surgery to relieve swelling on her brain.
Bauman said an examination of the toddler revealed past injuries to her arm, chest and legs, including a fracture to her one of her legs. The injuries, he said, were consistent with those inflicted by someone and were not accidental.
During questioning, Conner told police he had been the primary caregiver of the toddler the last four of seven days prior to the child’s admission to the hospital. He said he became angry with the two-year-old on Feb. 3 and shook her for three or four seconds before ‘tossing’ her on the couch.
The toddler seemed normal and responsive after that, although she had difficulty keeping food down. Conner said the girl was walking across a wet floor in the bathroom and fell, hitting her head, but she got up and walked away.
On Thursday, Conner said he placed the little girl in ‘time out,’ and later she fell again in the bathroom and hit her head on the floor. He said she was ‘not herself’ after that.
Conner said on Friday the toddler was lethargic, vomiting and later unresponsive, prompting him to seek medical attention.
Harrison County Prosecutor Dennis Byrd said Monday that the toddler’s chances of survival have increased from less than 50 percent but she will probably have permanent injuries.
Police said Conner had battered the toddler at a residence on Greene Street in Palmyra where the couple lived. During questioning, Conner told police that he had shaken the little girl in a similar manner as he did last week on two other occasions while he, the toddler and the girl’s mother were living in Washington County.
Conner was released from jail Sunday after posting bond. Byrd said that, according to Harrison Superior Court Judge Roger Davis’s bond schedule, Conner had to post a $20,000 cash or surety bond.
As part of his release, Conner is to have no contact with the toddler or his girlfriend, Byrd said. Conner is to appear in court May 17 at 9 a.m.
The Indiana State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations is continuing the investigation with assistance from the Prosecutor’s office and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Dept.