A 5-month-old child’s life hangs in the balance as the Newton County Sheriff’s Department works to determine if the infant is the victim of child abuse.

A 5-month-old child’s life hangs in the balance as the Newton County Sheriff’s Department works to determine if the infant is the victim of child abuse.
The department was contacted by Seneca police late Wednesday after the child had been taken at about 2:30 p.m. to Freeman West Hospital in Joplin. Chief Deputy Chris Jennings reported the child was flown immediately by medical helicopter to Kansas City because if his injuries.
“Therefore, we did not get contacted until after the child was in Kansas City and doctors were looking at it and seeing the injuries to what they believed was child abuse,” Jennings said Friday afternoon. “The child is still alive. They thought for a while the child was not going to make it. It’s still touch and go. It’s my understanding with the child (that) they are still not sure what’s going to happen.”
The parents were in Kansas City with the child, so detectives have not had a chance to interview them, though he said they had brief contact by telephone.
“We do believe we do have child abuse,” Jennings maintained. “The child has injuries to his head, possibly brain injuries, so we will be talking to the parents as soon as possible trying to determine what happened. We have a medical idea of what happened, but we have to tie that in with the people in charge of the child to see if we can determine whether charges will be brought.”
Doctors have determined there is some fracturing of the baby’s skull, Jennings said, adding the last report from Kansas City noted the child had “abnormal brain activity,” though they had not seen anything in writing.
“We don’t know the exact synopsis of what is going on,” he said, “but we are convinced it was obviously not something that would happen naturally to this baby. It’s just a matter of determining whether there was some form of an accident or whether it was child abuse. I’m hoping to have it finalized by Monday.”
Authorities do not believe both parents were involved, he said, as the child was only in the custody of one of them when the incident occurred. “At this point, we don’t believe it was an accident, but we will put all the facts together before we make a determination.”
A 17-month-old child was removed from the home and taken into protective custody. Jennings said the injured child also is under custody of the state.
Also Wednesday, the owner of a residence in the 22900 block of Randy Lane near Diamond reported at 4:26 p.m. that the home had been broken into. He reported that a wood stove, a chain saw and a skill saw had been stolen. Entry was gained by damaging the front door. The total loss, included damage, is estimated at $500.