Sumner man pleads not guilty in assault on baby girl

A Sumner man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to first-degree child assault, for allegedly assaulting and partially paralyzing a 1-year-old girl earlier this year.

Eli Tomal, 31, was booked into jail after his arraignment, in lieu of $75,000 bail.

According to charging papers:

The assault happened Jan. 28 at the home where Tomal was living with his pregnant girlfriend and her daughter.

The woman called 911 when the baby wouldn’t wake up, and told officers she left the house for 15 minutes while Tomal watched the girl.

Tomal said the baby fell on her back on a flashlight while crawling. Neurosurgeons said the injuries likely were caused by violent shaking.

The baby, who is in protective custody, had surgery to place a titanium plate in her head, uses a feeding tube, and is paralyzed on her right side.