RICHMOND, Ind. — Both parents have been charged with neglect after their baby daughter was treated for brain and other injuries attributed to abuse.
Matthew James Shaffer, 27, and Casey Renee Miller, 26, were each charged Thursday with five neglect of a dependent counts by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. One count is a Level 1 felony, three are Level 3 felonies and one is a Level 6 felony.
Arrest warrants have been ordered for Shaffer and Miller, and when jailed, their bonds will be $100,000, according to court records.
Richmond Police Department began investigating the couple after their then-4-month-old daughter was transported by ambulance April 1 to Reid Health then flown by medical helicopter to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, according to an affidavit of probable cause. A Riley trauma team treated the girl, who was in critical condition, for brain bleeds, a fractured rib, vertebrae injuries, retinal hemorrhaging and a fractured arm.
The doctor who oversaw the trauma team treating the infant described the brain, retina, arm and rib injuries as resulting from abuse, the affidavit said. The brain and retina injuries were consistent with violent shaking of a baby, and the rib injury was consistent with the squeezing of a baby’s rib cage. The doctor described the arm fracture, which involved the end of the bone being ripped off, as consistent with the violent pulling or yanking of the arm.
According to the affidavit, the baby was released April 17 to foster care. At that time, she still suffered from impaired eyesight and neurological damage in her brain, the affidavit said.
RPD’s investigation found that the baby awoke crying during the morning, and Miller said another child had hit her with a bottle or sippy cup, according to the affidavit. Shaffer took the baby downstairs, where he eventually noticed her not acting right. She appeared limp and was not breathing.
Shaffer performed CPR, and the baby resumed breathing, he told investigators, the affidavit said. The baby again stopped breathing while Shaffer was holding her later, Miller said, but resumed after Shaffer gave her a breath. Miller asked if they should take the baby to the hospital, but Shaffer said it was not necessary.
During the day, the parents described the baby as limp, not active and not wanting to eat and she also would have seizures, according to the affidavit. Miller said Shaffer continued to tell her no when she asked about taking the baby to the hospital. Shaffer finally called an ambulance at 5:30 p.m. April 1 after another family member threatened to do it.
The Level 1 felony charges, which characterize catastrophic injuries, reflect the brain injuries, some of which were old and some of which were new, according to doctors, the affidavit said. The Level 3 felonies, which characterize serious injuries, refer to the rib arm and retina injuries. The Level 6 felony results from an alleged failure to promptly seek medical care for the baby.
A Level 1 felony conviction carries a standard 30-year sentence with a sentencing range of 20 to 40 years as established by Indiana law. A Level 3 felony conviction has a nine-year standard sentence and a range of three to 16 years, while a Level 6 felony conviction’s range is six months to 2½ years with a one-year advisory sentence.
The cases have been assigned to Superior Court 2.