Crime

A Lakewood infant suffered severe brain injuries at the hands of his frustrated dad, charges say

A 29-year-old man is accused of intentionally inflicting severe injuries on his infant son because he was frustrated with the boy’s crying, according to Pierce County court records.

Lakewood police investigated after the child’s parents brought him to Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital in Tacoma with life-threatening injuries earlier this month.

The baby was born in July.

Prosecutors charged Myrone Barzaga Salud with two counts of first-degree child assault Friday.

He pleaded not guilty at arraignment, and Pierce County Superior Court Commissioner Sabrina Ahrens set bail at $500,000.

According to charging papers:

The baby arrived at the hospital April 1 with bruises across his body, bite marks on his back, scratches on his rib cage, broken ribs and a broken jaw that were healing.

An eye exam showed retinal hemorrhages, and doctors found hematomas on his brain and swelling. They also determined part of his brain was not getting enough blood.

“Medical personnel told the assigned detective this lack of blood flow was causing damage which would manifest in physical and cognitive defects,” deputy prosecutor Erica Eggertsen wrote in the declaration for determination of probable cause.

Doctors took him into surgery to put a drain in his head. They also found a lung problem.

The infant’s mother told police that she’d been home with the baby all day and that he’d seemed fine.

She left the baby with Salud about 4:30 p.m. to take their older child to a fast-food restaurant.

The infant was sleeping when she returned about 30 minutes later.

Salud told her the baby had been crying but had stopped.

About 6 p.m. the mother noticed the baby shaking, picked him up and knew something was wrong.

That’s when they took him to the hospital.

During one of his interviews with police, Salud said he had pinched, squeezed, bitten and shaken the crying baby in frustration.

A bruise on the child’s genitals was from last month, Salud said, when he pinched him in frustration when the child was crying during a diaper change.

He said he caused the rib fractures by squeezing the baby.

“He initially said he squeezed (the baby) because (the baby) is so cute,” Eggertsen wrote. “He added that sometimes he is annoyed with (the baby) and will squeeze him out of frustration.”

The last time was in February or March, he said, when the infant was crying. The baby cried more after that, he said.

Salud also “said he will also drive his fist into (the baby’s) chest with pressure because he is frustrated,” Eggertsen wrote.

He also said he caused the bite marks.

First he said he bit the child because he’s cute. Later he said he bit him because he was crying.

Salud also said he’d shaken the baby the night they took him to the hospital.

He’d done that several times before to get the baby to stop crying, he said, but this time he shook the infant harder.

A bruise on the baby’s head might be from that incident, Salud said. He told police he might have hit the infant’s head on the crib before putting him inside.

Salud said he was tired and hungry when he got home and that he couldn’t eat because “what’s his face” wouldn’t stop crying.

He said he was annoyed that he was left alone with the infant.

Salud told police: “I am responsible for everything that happened ...”.

His conscience wouldn’t let him keep lying, he said.

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