Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Minnesota father confesses to beating his baby daughter with Down syndrome, leaving her with 57 fractures

From The Star Tribune in Minneapolis:

A father from Savage, Minn., has confessed to repeatedly assaulting his baby girl, who had 57 fractures by the time she was four weeks old, Scott County authorities reported.

Thomas E. Ampe, 22, also is accused of causing bleeding and bruising in the newborn's brain, according to a complaint filed in Scott County District Court on Aug. 18.

Ampe posted $15,000 bail and is free until trial for first-degree assault. An evidence hearing is set for Nov. 4.

The baby, born June 24, has Down syndrome, a chromosomal disorder that causes cognitive and physical disabilities. She is now in a foster home.

"In my 33 years as a police officer, this is the most severe case of child abuse I have ever seen," Capt. Dave Muelken, a spokesman for the Savage Police Department, said Friday.

Muelken called the assaults "horrible" and "saddening."

The complaint alleges this:

Laura Ampe brought her baby to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis on July 22 after noticing that the newborn was bleeding. She had no explanation for the injuries.

Bone scans revealed 57 fractures, including to her ribs, legs, arms and knees, said Chief Deputy Scott County Attorney Ron Hocevar.

An MRI also showed three areas where her brain was bruised or bleeding. In interviews with police, Ampe admitted that he caused all the injuries, the complaint states.

Ampe told police that he had become easily frustrated with his newborn because she would fuss and cry. He would be set off when she cried nonstop for long periods, he said.

Ampe recalled first becoming frustrated with the baby when she was a about three weeks old and wouldn't drink from a bottle. He grabbed her by the back of the head with one hand and squeezed her face with his other hand.

During meals, his frustration when she turned her head away led him to shove the bottle into her mouth, and he said that one time, "her lip broke." A doctor said the injury was consistent with someone shoving a bottle nipple into where the upper lip connects to the gum.