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Father faces charges after infant dies from abusive head trauma

The 10-month-old was in the hospital with detached retinas, brain bleeds and bruising on her back


By Samantha Perry
Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD, W. Va. — A Bluefield infant at the heart of a shaken baby case has passed away, and her suspect father will now be facing additional charges, Bluefield Police Department officials said Sunday.

Jacob Lee Richards, 25, of Franklin Street, Bluefield, was arrested Wednesday after his infant daughter was brought to Bluefield Regional Medical Center by emergency medical personnel, Detective K.L. Adams of the Bluefield Police Department, said. Richards was originally facing felony charges of child abuse resulting in injury and malicious or unlawful assault.

Jacob Lee Richards, 25, of Franklin Street, Bluefield, was arrested Wednesday after his infant daughter was brought to the hospital by an ambulance. (Photo/Bluefield Police Dept.)
Jacob Lee Richards, 25, of Franklin Street, Bluefield, was arrested Wednesday after his infant daughter was brought to the hospital by an ambulance. (Photo/Bluefield Police Dept.)

Last week, the infant was in critical condition at a Roanoke hospital. The 10-month-old female child was on a ventilator, had detached retinas in both eyes, numerous brain bleeds, brain trauma and bruising consistent with handprints to her back. The injuries were consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome, Adams stated earlier.

Adams said the child’s mother is not a suspect. The mother, who was at work when the incident occurred, said that she went to work at noon leaving her 2-year-old son and 10-month-old daughter in the care of their father.

“Jacob (Richards) said he was cleaning the house after being ordered to do so by his wife. Jacob then disclosed that the infant was sitting in a baby swing downstairs in the home,” Adams said in his criminal complaint.

Richards stated he was upstairs cleaning when he heard the baby downstairs gasping for air, Adams said. He then said that he took his daughter out of the swing and started CPR before calling Mercer County 911 and his wife at work.

At that point, Richards said that “he was aware that the injuries his daughter had was consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome,” Adams stated in his report.

Adams then confronted Richards about the baby’s injuries and the fact that he was the only person capable of producing them on her.

“Jacob then confessed that his daughter had been crying all day, which resulted in him becoming very agitated with the child,” Adams said. “Jacob advised at one point he was so agitated he had went outside. Jacob then said he had shaken the child for approximately one minute.”

Richards then stated that the infant immediately started gasping for air.

“Jacob said his thought after committing the crime was, ‘I just killed my kid,’” Adams said. He was then informed that “in the outcome that his daughter was to pass away from the injuries, his charges would change.”

Copyright 2017 Bluefield Daily Telegraph

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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