MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Dakota County police charged a South St. Paul man for allegedly assaulting his girlfriend’s 15-month old toddler while she was at work.
LaMar James Crump, 21, faces one felony count each of first degree assault and malicious punishment of a child.
According to police, officers responded to call around 6:10 a.m. Thursday of a child being unresponsive in an apartment in South St. Paul.
Upon arrival, police found a 15-month-old boy lying on his back, unresponsive on the living room floor.
Police said medics determined the boy’s condition was critical and took him to St. Paul Children’s Hospital.
Physicians at the hospital later determined that the child had swelling and bleeding on his brain, a lacerated liver, which had caused internal bleeding, and bruises on his face, abdomen, back and butt.
A criminal complaint stated that a neighbor of the child’s mother took care of the boy overnight as his mother often works overnight.
The neighbor told police she had cared for the child since he was born.
According to the complaint, the neighbor said when she dropped the boy off at 5 a.m. he had been breathing fine and did not have any bruising. She later showed police pictures of the child from the night before where he had been playing with toys.
Police said about an hour after the neighbor dropped the boy off, Crump pounded on a different neighbor’s apartment door, yelling that the child was not breathing.
According to police, Crump told officers on the scene that he had tried to wake the boy up in the morning but the child would not wake up and was not breathing.
Upon further questioning, Crump began to change where and when he found the boy unresponsive.
Additionally, video surveillance shows Crump walking out of the apartment with the child and then returning before the 911 call was made.
Officers also spoke with two other tenants of the apartment building who both said they heard a “banging noise,” and a “thump” coming from the apartment of the boy around 6 a.m. in the morning.
After investigating the apartment, police also found the toddler’s shirt he was pictured in from the night before with a stretched collar and loose stitching.
According to the criminal complaint, three different physicians said the injuries are a result of severe trauma. Some of the bruises also were consistent with the shape of a hand.
One doctor indicated that if the boy survives he could have long term complications, including paralysis.
“Anytime you have a violent assault of a toddler or an infant, it’s hard to understand. All we can do is to seek justice, and that’s what we’ll do in this case,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said. “He will have some long term negative complications. We hope for the best for him.”
Crump was taken into custody Thursday.
Crump made his first court appearance on Friday. Bail was set at $300,000 without conditions.
His next appearance is for 9 a.m. July 15 in Hastings.
If found guilty, Crump could face up to 20 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both for the assault charge and up to 10 years in prison, a $20,000 fine or both for the malicious punishment charge.