A Missouri couple faces child abuse charges after their 11-month-old son was found bloodied and with injuries including bite marks, ruptured eardrums and a broken nose, PEOPLE confirms.
According to a news release from police in Troy, Missouri, police were dispatched last Friday on a report of an injured juvenile. When they arrived, officers and paramedics saw an 11-month-old infant with “substantial bruises, cuts to the head and face, human bite marks on his body,” and bleeding inside his ears and nose.
The infant’s father, Brandon D. Johnson, told police he’d been alone in the apartment with the child the previous night, and the two had laid down on a living room couch around 11 p.m.
To prevent the infant from falling off, the father allegedly said he positioned the child along the back of the couch and between the father’s left arm and chest. The boy at the time had no injuries other than “maybe” a few “slight” scratches to the back of his hands caused by interactions with a family cat, Johnson told police.
He allegedly said they fell asleep together around 2:30 a.m. But when the father awoke around 5 a.m., he said his son was sitting up on a corner of the couch at his father’s feet.
“It was now that Johnson noticed both he and his son were covered in blood,” police allege in their news release. “Johnson advised his son had blood all over his face and hands, and appeared to have a cut along the right side of his head. Johnson used baby-wipes and cleaned the blood off his son. He advised he then also changed his son out of the blood-soaked ‘onesie.'”
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Asked what might have caused the injuries, Johnson told police he didn’t know. He allegedly said he didn’t immediately call police after finding his son injured and bloodied because he “freaked out” and didn’t know what to do.
The boy’s mother, Kristen Hopper, allegedly saw the injuries when she returned home around 7 a.m, police say, and around 8:30 a.m. Johnson called his mom and asked her to come to the apartment.
Johnson’s mom — who was not identified by police — then contacted an off-duty officer around 9 a.m. to report the injuries, and police and paramedics responded and the child was taken to a hospital.
That afternoon the toddler underwent emergency surgery to repair what police described as “internal injuries of the mouth due to the trauma sustained.” Medical staff also determined the infant’s nose was broken and both eardrums were ruptured.
Johnson was charged with three felony counts of abuse or neglect of a child resulting in serious physical injury. Hopper was charged with one felony count of the same charge. Cash bond for the father was set at $250,000, and for the mother at $100,00. It was not immediately known if they had retained attorneys.
Authorities placed the child in protective custody.