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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Idaho

Probe found no abuse of child

Taryn Brodwater Staff writer

State officials investigated a report that 15-month-old Brandon McAdoo was being abused just a month before the toddler died on Sunday, allegedly at the hands of his father, police said Wednesday.

The child, whose father is being sought on charges of felony injury to a child, was likely suffering from an untreated fracture to his right forearm at the time the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare investigated the complaint, said Detective Dan Mattos of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department.

“Their investigation found no evidence of injury to the child at that time,” Mattos said.

The mother told police the break occurred about a month and a half before Health and Welfare visited the family in late December, Mattos said. The break may not have been apparent to social workers, he said.

The Department of Health and Welfare declined to comment on the case, say why the boy was left in the home or release the deceased child’s records. A spokesman said Idaho law prohibited him from commenting on the McAdoo case but said his agency frequently contacts doctors in cases of suspected abuse.

“Any time that we receive a complaint, we check on that complaint,” said Ross Mason, a spokesman at the Health and Welfare offices in Boise.

An autopsy conducted over the weekend revealed the partially healed fracture in Brandon’s arm and determined he died of a “blunt trauma injury” to his head. An arrest warrant has been issued for his father, Barry L. McAdoo, 30, who has been missing since Friday, when his girlfriend, Angela Cowles, reported their son’s injuries.

A judge has set bail for the warrant at $200,000. Additional charges may be filed once the investigation is complete, according to police.

McAdoo is 6-feet-2 and about 300 pounds. He has brown hair, brown eyes and has been known to use the aliases Barry Swendt, Lane McAdoo or Jeff McAdoo. Mattos said McAdoo has a criminal history in Kentucky with convictions for domestic violence and property crimes.

He used to live in Kentucky and has family there, Mattos said. McAdoo also has ties to Missouri and Louisiana, and there’s “at least a possibility he could be headed that way,” Mattos said. McAdoo doesn’t have a car but has been known to hitchhike.

McAdoo was last seen Friday leaving the Monte Vista Motel and RV Park at 320 Lake Coeur d’Alene Dr. Local law enforcement has enlisted the help of the FBI to find him.

The family had lived in a travel trailer in the RV park since arriving in Idaho last spring, Mattos said. He described the trailer as about 12 feet long and “maybe 6- to 8-feet wide.”

“It was a very small, very old travel trailer in poor condition,” Mattos said. “It was overcrowded with personal belongings and other effects. Apparently there was no heat or running water to the trailer.

“The conditions were inappropriate for a young child.”

Management at the RV park declined to comment Wednesday. About eight travel trailers, motor homes, campers and even an old school bus were parked next door to the small motel, some with blue tarps draped over the roofs. A tattered and faded black flag with a skull and crossbones waved from a pole in the middle of the muddied lot.

Cowles, 33, originally told police she fell on the ice while carrying her son. Medical examinations showed the injuries Brandon received were not consistent with a fall and Cowles then changed her story.

She told investigators that McAdoo may have injured the child while trying to retrieve a piece of plastic-coated paper from the child’s mouth, according to a press release from the Sheriff’s Department.

Police said medical evidence indicated Brandon was likely the victim of “shaken baby syndrome.”

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