Feb 6, 2012 6:11 AM

Second Arrest In Fayette Co. Child Abuse Case

Police have made a second arrest in a Lexington child abuse case.

Last week, police arrested Dustin Watson, 22, and charged him with criminal abuse. According to a police report, he shook his 11-month-old stepdaughter, causing retinal bleeding in both eyes. He also "caused physical injury to the child's left eye," according to the document.

On Feb 3, police arrested the child's mother, Jennifer Saunders, 22, and charged her with criminal abuse. According to the arrest warrant, Saunders and Watson brought the child to the hospital 20 to 21 hours after the child suffered her injuries. Saunders initially claimed she was home alone with the baby and her 2-year-old daughter when the infant fell from a bed, according to court documents. Police say hospital staff determined the injuries were not consistent with a fall. Police say investigators found that Saunders was at work during the time the injuries occurred, and she later admitted she was not home at the time.

According to the warrant, Saunders then told police she was at work, and the child was in Watson's care. He called her and told her the child hurt her eye when she rolled off the bed. Later in the day, Watson sent a photo of the child's injury via text, indicating he was concerned about the baby's condition. The police report says Watson's stepfather advised the couple to take the child to the hospital, but Saunders admitted that she was afraid to tell the truth and take the baby in for treatment because the biological father "would be irate with her when he found out."

"The photo that Ms. Saunders received before leaving work clearly shows that the infant's eye was already severely swollen and blue, contradicting her statement that it gradually got to the point of swelling shut. Also, she admitted that the child vomited several times," the police report says.

Investigators say medical tests show that the child suffered from a severe black eye, frontal lobe hemorrhage, bleeding in both eyes and several bruises about the body.

The arrest warrant indicates Saunders failed to seek immediate medical attention, placing the child in danger.


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