19-year-old Sturtevant man charged with child abuse

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STURTEVANT (WITI) — 19-year-old Justin Gardner of Sturtevant has been charged in connection with the abuse of his seven-month-old child.

Gardner faces one count of physical abuse of a child, that carries a maximum penalty of three years and six months behind bars, and/or $10,000 in fines.

A criminal complaint in the case states Gardner’s child was taken to the hospital on May 6th after he had been seizing and foaming at the mouth. A doctor determined the child had two separate brain bleeds — a condition a doctor said was likely caused by shaking of some kind.

The criminal complaint says the baby’s mother told officials her son was lying on her chest while she was lying on the floor, and he rolled off her chest and hit his head on the carpeted floor.

The criminal complaint says the baby’s mother told officials Gardner tended to “play too rough” with the baby at times, saying that on one occasion he shook the baby while he was in his bouncer — angry that he wouldn’t stop crying.

The baby’s mother told officials she had gone to the laundromat and left the baby in his father’s care, and when she returned home, the baby was lying in Gardner’s arms, limp and gasping for air — according to the criminal complaint.

The criminal complaint says when interviewing Gardner, he told officials he was feeding the baby, and was going to take a shower when he noticed the baby was gasping for air and his arms had stiffened. Gardner said he believed the baby was having a seizure, and ran downstairs and asked a neighbor to call 911.

The criminal complaint indicates Gardner told officials he had tried to feed the baby rice cereal that made him cry one day beforehand. The complaint says Gardner told officials he became aggravated with the baby’s crying, and put him in the bouncy chair.

Gardner was then arrested.