October 5, 1997 in City

Father Charged With Abuse Baby Girl With Severe Injuries Is Not Expected To Recover

By The Spokesman-Review
 

An Idaho infant is clinging to her life at a Spokane hospital, an apparent victim of repeated child abuse, police said.

Doctors do not expect the girl to recover from her injuries, police spokesman Dick Cottam said.

Spokane police arrested David Craig Pettit on a charge of first-degree assault. His 3-1/2-month-old daughter remained on a life-support system late Saturday.

Pettit, 24, is a resident of Moscow, Idaho, and a student at the University of Idaho, Cottam said.

The girl and her mother were flown by medical helicopter to Spokane Thursday afternoon. Their names are not being released. Police also declined to release the name of the hospital the child was taken to.

Hospital officials told police the baby has severe head and brain damage, including retinal tearing that will most likely result in permanent blindness if she lives, Cottam said.

The infant’s brain is swollen, apparently the result of having been severely shaken, he said.

According to police, the child’s 25-year-old mother said Pettit told her he had dropped, shaken and squeezed the baby several times in the past. He said the baby had also stopped breathing on some occasions, Cottam said.

The woman, also a student, told police she had never witnessed the abuse because the alleged incidents happened while she was in class.

Idaho Child Protective Services said the girl’s leg was broken when she was just 2 weeks old. The infant was removed from her parents’ home for a month before being returned.

Cottam said Pettit could be charged with murder if the girl dies.

, DataTimes

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