Friday, 4 February 2011

SBS: WASHINGTON: Scott Daniel Sparks

February 1, 2011 Tony Lystra

The five-year-old brother of a baby hospitalized last week with critical injuries told investigators he saw his father throw the 3-month-old across the living room twice, according to a police report.
Scott Daniel Sparks, 30, of Kelso shook the baby before throwing him, the report said. The baby landed atop a pile of toy tractors. In another instance, investigators believe, the 5-year-old boy was struck by the flying infant after his father had thrown him.
The 3-month-old boy, who had been admitted to Legacy Emmanuel Hospital in Portland in critical condition two weeks ago, is expected to survive, but it's uncertain what lasting effect his injuries may have on his development, Kelso Police Chief Andrew Hamilton said Tuesday.
The baby's parents insisted that he was never shaken or abused, the report said.
A Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge found probable cause Monday to charge Sparks, the boys' father, with first-degree assault of a child. He was arrested Friday and remains in the Cowlitz County Jail, where he is being held on $100,000 bail.
Both boys are in protective custody, the report said.
The baby, who was born to Sparks and his wife, Dusty Childress, at St. John Medical Center in October, suffered torn brain tissue, four fractured ribs, a fractured leg bone and hemorrhaging in his eyes, the police report said. Kelso police described the injuries last week as potentially "life-threatening" and consistent with "shaken baby syndrome."
Doctors told police that tests revealed bleeding on both sides of the baby's brain. The bleeding took place on different occasions, indicating more than one episode of abuse, doctors said. The doctors also told investigators some of the abuse could have happened as much as one or two months ago.
Sparks told police the baby "has never fallen, has never been hit with anything and has never been shaken," according to the police report.
The baby, he said, was having episodes of "non-stop crying" and the child would stiffen his limbs, then quiet down, the report said. Sparks said he thought the episodes might be seizures.
Sparks told police he called 911 on Jan. 17 because the baby appeared to stop breathing after one of these episodes. The baby was taken to St. John, and his antacid medication was increased, Sparks told investigators. Sparks said additional tests revealed the injuries when he and his wife inquired about causes for the baby's behavior.
The 5-year-old told authorities his mother was present at the time of the abuse and that she had cried.
When investigators asked how the baby's ribs were broken, Childress suggested her 5-year-old son jumped over a couch and landed on the baby's chest, the report said.
Investigators also said that, before the interview, Childress told her 5-year-old son "not to talk about his daddy when he was interviewed." Police said Childress was "using her influence as a mother to have (her son) withhold information concerning this investigation" and that she was "clearly tampering with a witness."
The witness tampering matter has not yet been referred to prosecutors, Cowlitz County Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Michelle Shaffer said Tuesday.
Court documents said Sparks is unemployed and was previously convicted of a felony drug violation.

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