Friday, December 13, 2013
Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868
August 16, 2013
MONMOUTH -- A Monmouth man was arraigned Friday on child abuse charges in connection with an unconscious 17-month-old boy found Aug. 7 at a home in the 15000 block of Airlie Road in rural Polk County.
Polk County sheriff deputies and Polk County Fire District No. 1 personnel responded to a report of an unconscious boy and had the youngster transported by REACH air ambulance to Doernbecher Children's Hospital in Portland.
While en route, the boy regained consciousness. Upon arrival at Doernbecher, he was placed in the pediatrics intensive care unit.
The mother, whose name has not been released, left her boyfriend, Heath Epping, 41, in charge of the boy while she was at work.
Epping told authorities the boy had taken a short fall out of a Pack 'n Play -- a portable crib and playpen. Authorities later found Epping's original statements to be false, a finding backed up by the boy's injuries.
Doctors at Doernbecher found the boy's injuries to be severe, including broken bones, bleeding on the brain and retinal hemorrhaging.
Further tests showed previous subdural hematomas -- bleeding on the brain -- had occurred.
Epping was arrested Thursday on charges of first degree assault, second degree assault, third degree assault and criminal mistreatment.
Epping is being held at the Polk County Jail on $180,000 bail.
The boy was listed in stable condition as of Friday afternoon.