By Lynda Jones
A three-year-old Crockett infant was transferred by air ambulance to Texas Children's Hospital in critical condition on Saturday, Oct. 10 due to injuries consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome, or Abusive Head Trauma.
Her 1-1/2-year-old sister also was admitted to Texas Children's Hospital for medical evaluation.
Parents of the children, Kala Hernandez, 20, and Israel Gonzalez, 22, both of Crockett, were arrested Thursday night, Oct. 15, by the Crockett Police Department and booked into the Houston County Jail for multiple counts of Injury to a Child, all First Degree Felony charges.
Crockett Police Chief David Cross reported Friday, Oct. 16, that officers with the CPD became involved on Saturday, Oct. 10, when they were dispatched to the Houston County Medical Center in reference to suspicious injuries to a child.
Hernandez reportedly told the responding officers that the child had rolled over and fallen off a bed at their home in the 800 block of North Foster St.
After officers learned the couple have another child (the 1-1/2-year-old), CPS placed her with a different family member, Cross explained.
While at HCMC, Cross reported, "Officers noticed that the child (the 3-month-old) had no outward injuries on her head and also did not notice any bruises on the child."
They also observed the child cry from time to time, apparently in pain, Cross said further.
As the infant was flown to Houston to Texas Children's Hospital, Cross stated, detectives were notified and they began an investigation into the child's injuries.
"According to the medical staff at Texas Children's Hospital, the 3-month-old child had the following injuries: Corner fracture of the distal right tibia, bilateral subdural collection with blood, left and right frontal and bilateral retinal homologies," Cross reported.
Cross continued, "According to the medical staff, her condition was consistent with abusive head trauma. The baby's condition was listed as critical and she was also having seizures. The significant injuries to the child did not correlate with the reported recent short fall.
"The 1-year-old child had a healed distal fracture in her right wrist and a mild bowing deformity of the right ulnar in her arm."
With regards to the police investigation, Cross stated that on Thursday, Oct. 15, Sergeant Alfredo Fajardo intereviewed each parent separately in non-custodial (prior to arrests) interviews at CPD.
Cross stated that, during the interview with Fajardo, "Hernandez (allegedly) admitted that she had, in the recent past, shaken the 3-month-old child because she was stressed out and frustrated, during which time the baby would not quit crying."
Hernandez also allegedly described that while she shook the baby, the baby's head shook back and forth.
Cross further reported that Hernandez allegedly "admitted that in the recent past, she was changing the baby's diaper on the bed and she would not stop crying. Out of frustration, she forcibly pulled the child by its legs and then forcibly pulled the baby up off the bed by pulling at her arms."
According to Cross' statement, Hernandez additionally reported that on Friday, Oct. 9, she had placed the baby on the edge of a bed at the house and the baby had fallen off, hitting the floor.
Cross continued, "Hernandez went on to say that in the recent past, she also saw the baby's father, Gonzalez, purposely drop the 3-month-old baby onto the bed from a distance of about one-two feet. The baby landed on the bed with force.
"Also, she (alleged) that the father shook the 3-month-old baby in the recent past, which caused the child's head to forcibly shake back and forth."
Cross explained, "The actions (reportedly) described by Hernandez where she jerked the child by the arms and legs are consistent with the injuries found to the baby by Texas Children Hospital. The actions of Hernandez and Gonzalez shaking the baby are also consistent with the brain and head injuries found to the baby by Texas Children's Hospital."
"During the interview, Hernandez also admitted that in the recent past, she had forcibly pulled or jerked the 1-year-old child by the wrist, which could have caused the injury to the one year old's wrist," Cross reported.
"During Gonzalez's interview, he also (allegedly) admitted to dropping the 3-month- old child to the bed from a distance of one-two feet, during which time he was frustrated and stressed. He also (reportedly) admitted to shaking the 3-month-old in the recent past, at which time the child's head forcibly shook back and forth," Cross stated.
"This is a classic case of Shaken Baby Syndrome which is now known as Abusive Head Trauma. There is the normal triad that is present in these cases that include: subdural hematoma, retinal bleeding and brain swelling that are caused by violent shaking of the infant," Cross said.
"Sgt. Alfredo Fajardo did an exceptional job in working this case and he was assisted by our local CPS investigators who also were a great help. Both children were removed from the parents by CPS. The children have been released from Texas Children's Hospital, but the infant continues to have seizures and will be monitored for some time and we hope and pray that both children have a full recovery," Cross concluded.