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Mom arrested for neglecting & abusing baby

Ricki Campbell by Teresa Eubanks, Journal Editor
A 22-year-old Bristol woman is charged with aggravated child abuse and neglect of a child after her seven-week-old infant suffered a fractured femur. Suspicious injuries from previous weeks were discovered when additional scans were taken of the little girl.

Ricki Campbell was arrested last Thursday following an investigation by the Department of Children and Families. She also has a four-year-old son.

On Sept. 1, Campbell took the injured child to Calhoun Liberty Hospital. The mother claimed the child’s thigh bone was fractured that day. She originally said she had just bathed the child and was holding her when she slipped and fell on top of her.

The baby was airlifted to Shands Hospital and later transferred to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. Suspecting child abuse, the hospital kept the little girl under constant watch. A Child Protection Team arrived to investigate after evidence of abuse was found.

A doctor determined that the leg fracture did not happen as recently as the mother had claimed but was instead an old injury. The baby had also suffered previous fractured ribs and arms in the few short weeks since her birth.

• • • • •

According to the investigation, after telling the hospital staff she had fallen while holding the baby after bathing her, she later changed her story and said she had stepped in a hole in the floor and fell on top of the little girl after removing her from the tub. She claimed the accident happened immediately before they arrived and said the child had been crying since then.

The staff was suspicious because the child did not appear to have been bathed; she smelled badly and was wearing soiled clothing that would have been painful to put on over her injured leg.

The report described the mother, who came to the ER with her son and the children’s grandmother, as appearing emotionally detached.

She went outside several times to smoke and was seen putting the baby down on her injured leg, causing her to cry. Instead of seeing to the child, she let her mother step in to make the baby comfortable.

When the staff started examining the baby they were careful to lay her on her left side to keep from putting pressure on her injury. As they came and went from the room, they said the mother would move her onto her right side despite nurses telling her not to do so even after being told the baby had a severe spiral fracture.

Campbell later told an investigator that the incident hadn’t happened on Friday, as she initially stated, but said it occurred just before midnight Saturday. She said the baby kept screaming and crying so she gave her a bottle and some Pedicare to reduce her fever and put her to bed. She said when the baby woke up screaming and crying the next morning, she called her mother who came over and told her to take the infant to the hospital.

After being asked if she was positive she went to the hospital on Saturday, Campbell said she was but later changed her statement to say she brought the child in on Sunday. Another time, she said the injury happened on Thursday night.

When asked about previous injuries, Campbell said she was told the baby suffered from bruising of the brain, which could have happened in the fall. She added that her son was jealous of the baby and had thrown his bottle at her before, which she said left a knot on the baby’s head.

She also recalled a few weeks earlier when she was changing a diaper and the baby fell off the bed. She said she yanked the baby up by her arm because she was moving so fast.

The investigator asked if she could go to the trailer and photograph the hole in the bathroom floor but Campbell told her it had already been fixed by her stepfather and landlord. The investigator later saw the bathroom, which had a long board on the floor next to the tub, but due to the state of the room it was unlikely that this was a recent repair.

Both the landlord and stepfather told the investigator they had not repaired a hole in the bathroom floor.

Both children have been removed from her custody. As of Tuesday, she remains in jail. Her bond was set at $25,000.

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October 13th, 2017



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