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WJBD - Local News - Kell Woman Charged With Aggravated Battery To Her One Year Old Son

Kell Woman Charged With Aggravated Battery To Her One Year Old Son

By Bruce Kropp

A 34-year-old Kell woman had bond set at $100,000 in Marion County Court Thursday after being formally charged with a Class 'X' felony of aggravated battery to a child. Summer Austin of Adams Road is accused in the charge of shaking and squeezing her one-year-old child to such a degree that the baby suffered a brain injury and a retinal hemorage.

State's Attorney Matt Wilzbach says the sheriff's department was notified by Cardinal Glennon Hospital in St. Louis on December 23rd after the nuerologist treating the boy suspected abuse. Austin was arrested following questioning and remains in the Marion County Jail.

Austin told deputies her son sustained the injuries by falling out of a chair on December 19th. The child was taken to Salem Township Hospital for treatment and was later released with instruction to monitor activity. Wilzbach said Austin indicated there were no signs of problems until four days later when she looked in on her son and he appeared to be having siezures. At that time, the baby was taken to St. Mary's Hospital in Centralia. When staff recognized there was blood on the brain, the boy was immediately transferred to St. Louis.

Wilzbach says the nuerologist at Cardinal Glennon Hospital has provided a statement that falling from a chair would not have caused the type of injury the boy received. A team at Cardinal Glennon Hospital that reviews suspected child abuse is currently looking at this case. Wilzbach says if their findings are different than the nuerologist he could change his charging decision. Since Austin was apparently alone at the time the injury occurred, Wilzbach says there is no independent witness to say what happened. He reports the nuerologist ruled out blunt force trauma as the cause of the injury.

Wilzbach says the boy was scheduled to be released from the hospital on Thursday. The Department of Children and Family Services has taken protective custody of the child and temporarily placed him with a relative. A hearing on the child's placement is scheduled for court on Friday.

Austin indicated to Judge Michael McHaney that she had hired Attorney Steve Quinn to represent her. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for January 16th.  

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