TROY, Mo. (AP) — An 11-month-old Lincoln County boy is hospitalized with bite marks, a broken nose, ruptured ear drums and other injuries, and police believe his father is responsible.
Lincoln County prosecutors have charged Brandon Johnson of Troy with three counts of child abuse causing serious physical injury. The mother, Kristen Hopper, is charged with one count of the same crime. Johnson is held on $250,000 cash-only bond and Hopper on $100,000 cash-only bond. Neither has an attorney.
According to police, Johnson told authorities he went to sleep on a couch in his apartment Thursday night with the infant beside him. He said he awoke around 5 a.m. to find that both he and the child were covered in blood. Hopper arrived home around 7 a.m., and at 8:30 a.m. Johnson asked his mother to come over, detective Tony Stuart said. She contacted police.
Stuart said officers found the child with substantial bruising, cuts to the head and face, human bite marks on his body, blood from inside both ears and the nose, and significant injuries inside his mouth.
“In my 16 years, this is the worst physical child abuse case I’ve ever worked,” Stuart said.
The infant was flown to a St. Louis hospital and placed in protective custody. Stuart said a brain scan showed no signs of brain damage.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether state child welfare workers have dealt with the family before. A spokeswoman for the Missouri Department of Social Services said information about specific child abuse and neglect investigations is confidential under state law.