ANGOLA — A child that was allegedly beaten so severely by a Fort Wayne woman that she will most likely have intellectual disabilities has led to the arrest and charging of the woman and a Kendallville man.
The arrests of Dakota McHenry, 25, Fort Wayne, and Derek Pierce, 31, Kendallville, came after the 3-year-old girl was taken to Cameron Memorial Community Hospital in a limp, lifeless state late Friday, Steuben Circuit Court Records say. The girl was then transferred to Parkview Regional Medical Center, Fort Wayne, for treatment of the extensive injuries, court records said.
One of the doctors at Parkview told police the damage was so severe it most likely will lead to intellectual disability for the child. She also has been experiencing strokes as a result of her injuries, court records said, which were so severe that officers with the Steuben County Sheriff's Office feared she would not survive.
The injuries came at least at least over the course of the day Friday while the child was in the care of McHenry, Steuben Superior Court records indicate. McHenry is the significant other of Pierce, who was working at the time.
McHenry is facing a charge of Level 1 felony neglect of a child resulting in catastrophic injury. She also is facing Level 3 battery of a dependent younger than 14 causing serious bodily injury and Level 3 neglect of a dependent.
Pierce is facing a charge of Level 1 felony neglect resulting in catastrophic injury and Level 3 felony neglect of a dependent.
A case manager with the Indiana Department of Child Services told investigators "the injuries reported to her by Cameron Memorial Hospital (medical staff) were that the brain was hemorrhaging on the right, left, and front parts of the skull. There were multiple lacerations and bruises from head to toe. (The child) was close to death and would not have been able to sustain any more trauma."
A doctor at Parkview said drainage tube had to be inserted into the child's head to reduce the swelling to the child's brain, court records said. Because the child's heart rate and oxygen level had dropped so low she had to be intubated. She also sustained injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
Cameron Hospital officials contacted police in connection with the treatment it was providing to a 3-year-old child. It was believed the injuries occurred in Kendallville but it was later determined that they occurred at the campground near Lake Gage.
Kendallville police contacted the Steuben County Sheriff's Office, which initiated the investigation.
Both McHenry and Pierce provided inconsistent statements to police, court records indicate. McHenry said the child slipped while bathing because bath oils made the tub surface slick. She also said the child fell while on the playground at the campground. Pierce would not speak with police without an attorney present.
Police were able to get search warrants for McHenry's and Pierce's cellphones and were able to sew together evidence that indicated McHenry had been beating the child during the day and her parents urged her to take the child to the hospital, court records said.
In an initial hearing on Monday, McHenry and Pierce both said they would retain private counsel.
Both McHenry and Pierce are each being held on $100,000 bail.
McHenry and Pierce both will be back in court for pretrial conferences Dec. 13 at 1 p.m.