Joint Base Lewis-McChord soldier pleads not guilty in abuse of infant

Staff writerMarch 26, 2014 

A Joint-Base Lewis-McChord soldier pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges he abused his 2-month-old daughter, critically injuring the baby.

Dwayne Cowart, 30, is charged with first-degree child assault. His bail was set at $500,000.

According to charging papers:

The specialist in the 42nd Military Police Brigade called 911 about 4 p.m. Monday to say the child was unresponsive at their apartment in the 1600 block of Sequalitchew Drive. Cowart did CPR on the baby until aid got there.

The girl was taken to Madigan Army Medical Center with a brain hemorrhage, broken femur and rib fractures – some injuries that were new and others that had started to heal.

Cowart told investigators he had tried to feed the baby when she cried, and when she still fussed, patted her bottom until she fell asleep. The same thing happened an hour later, he said, and the baby and Cowart fell asleep on the couch. When he woke up, his daughter, on his chest, was not breathing, had blue lips and some blood coming from her mouth, he said.

A doctor told police the baby’s brain injury was a kind usually caused by being shaken. The physician was “extremely guarded with any long-term prognosis for her survival.”

Cowart told police in a follow-up interview that he didn’t know what happened to the baby, then said he had flipped her over in his arms with one hand, and when she started screaming, gave her Tylenol. That’s when an injury would have happened, because she was screaming, he said.

He was not entirely clear about the sequence of events, but at one point said he gave the baby the medicine before they both fell asleep.

Alexis Krell: 253-597-8268

alexis.krell@thenewstribune

thenewstribune.com/crime-news

@amkrell

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