May 17, 1996 in Nation/World

Hospital Releases Infant Who Was Beaten By 6-Year-Old

Los Angeles Times

One month after a 6-year-old neighbor allegedly beat him nearly to death, 2-month-old Ignacio Bermudez went home from the hospital Thursday, with his doctors predicting the infant will suffer the lifelong effects of severe brain damage.

“The likelihood is that he will have long-term problems and need assistance for the rest of his life,” said Dr. Robert Haining, director of pediatric rehabilitation at Children’s Hospital of Northern California.

Haining said it is possible the infant may never walk or may have difficulty seeing. The baby suffered damage to the left side and back of his brain, including sections controlling movement and the ability to make sense of what the eyes are seeing, Haining said.

Facing a crush of reporters at a hospital news conference, the infant’s parents said they were happy to be taking Ignacio home, but nervous about what lies ahead.

Cradling her son in her arms, Maria Carmen Bermudez said her plan for coping with the baby’s likely disabilities is straightforward.

“Just taking care of him very much,” she said, speaking with the help of a translator. “Giving him a lot of attention, simply dedicating myself to him.”

After the news conference, the family prepared to return to their apartment in Richmond’s Iron Triangle neighborhood, where the baby was attacked when the 6-year-old and two 8-year-old twin boys allegedly entered the home to steal a Big Wheel tricycle.

But his father said they plan to move to a different home in another part of Richmond by Sunday.

The 6-year-old charged with attempting to murder baby Ignacio remained in Juvenile Hall in nearby Martinez Thursday, where he remains the youngest resident. Authorities said they are having difficulty locating a group home in the area equipped to handle so young a boy, who requires constant supervision.

He is now undergoing court-ordered psychological testing. The results of that could influence how his case ultimately is handled.

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