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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Father accused of assaulting baby daughter multiple times; doctor says injuries may cause girl to be permanently deaf and blind

Sebastian Smith, 20, makes his first appearance in court on Oct. 28, 2016. His bond was set at $100,000. (SR)

Sebastian Smith, the father of Sequoia Smith, the baby who was hospitalized in late August after showing several signs of shaken baby syndrome, was arrested Thursday and appeared in court Friday to face two charges of first-degree child assault.

Smith, 20, told police of several other times he abused his 2-month-old daughter, Sequoia.

In one instance, he held her mouth shut to stop her from crying, according to court documents. Another time he stepped on her leg and broke her femur. Other times, he cracked her ribs while throwing her into the air.

The baby girl remains hospitalized at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center.

At about 4 p.m. Aug. 28, crews responded to an emergency call at 501 E. Baldwin Ave.. They found Sequoia Smith not breathing and took her to Sacred Heart.

In interviews, Sebastian Smith and his wife told investigators that Sequoia Smith’s injuries were likely the result of the baby rolling off their 30-inch-tall mattress onto a pair of her father’s steel-toed boots, court documents say.

But a baby that age can’t roll, and “the story provided by her parents is not consistent with the injuries,” Dr. Melanie Cooper-Flagle told investigators, according to court records. Cooper-Flagle was the doctor working in the ER when Sequoia Smith arrived.

The doctor also told investigators Sequoia Smith likely would endure “significant developmental delay” and “suffer seizures the rest of her life” as a result of her injuries, court records say. She also told investigators that Sequoia Smith is potentially blind, possibly deaf and is on a feeding tube because she has “no active suck response and cannot eat,” records say.

Sequoia Smith’s mother, Autumn Smith, may have known about the injuries before Sequoia Smith was taken to the hospital. According to court documents, Autumn Smith told investigators that she had seen Sebastian Smith violently shake the baby on more than one occasion, and that it bothered her, court documents say.

In late September, more than 200 people gathered in Riverfront Park to urge action against child abuse after four children, including Sequoia Smith, were killed or injured in the Inland Northwest within a span of two weeks.

At his first appearance Friday, Smith’s bond was set at $100,000. He remains in custody in the Spokane County Jail.