Questa man charged with allegedly shaking baby

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A Questa man is being held on $50,000 cash bond amid allegations that his shook his infant son, causing serious brain injuries to the child.

Damian Stow, 19, has been charged with one count of intentional child abuse resulting in great bodily harm in the May 19 incident.

According to the probable cause statement filed by New Mexico State Police, Agent Matthew Martínez responded to Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque after doctors there suspected the three-week-old boy had been shaken.

Doctors at Presbyterian told Martínez that the child had “intercranial pressure caused by internal bleeding  in the front and rear of the skull.” In addition, doctors told Martínez they found “no fractures to suggest blunt force trauma” to the child. Doctors told Martínez it was their professional opinion that hemorrhaging in both of the baby’s eyes led them to believe that the child was “shaken in a front-to-back motion.”

While the child was undergoing tests to rule out spinal meningitis as a cause of the pressure, doctors told Martínez they were unable to perform a spinal tap or an MRI on the child because he kept having seizures.

Dr. Lisa Petersen, Presbyterian’s child abuse specialist, told Martínez that in a previous interview with Stow and the child’s mother, Stow had “minimal interaction during the interview and was focused on eating a sub sandwich.” The child’s mother, Petersen told police, said that Stow had been the child’s primary caregiver while she worked.

In an interview with police, Stow said that the 3-week-old had been congested and had had trouble breathing. The previous Tuesday (May 15), they’d taken the baby to the doctor to address the problem, Stow said. Stow claimed that on Friday, the baby had trouble breathing and “not much of appetite.” Stow said he put the baby down around 8 p.m. and when he tried to wake the child about an hour later, the baby was “limp but breathing.”

When the mother returned home from work around 11 p.m. and tried to feed the baby, she noted that he was “pale and remained limp and unresponsive,” which prompted them to take him to Holy Cross Hospital, where he was later airlifted to Presbyterian’s Pediatric Intensive Care ward.

In his interview with police, Stow demonstrated how he’d bounced his son on his shoulder, admitting that he’d bounced the baby “much harder than he’d demonstrated, although he didn’t have the strength at that moment to demonstrate the actual force used.”

Police encouraged Stow to tell his wife the extent of the force and when he did, he admitted that she’d never seen him bounce the child as hard as he had at the time.

Assistant district attorney Emilio Chávez told The Taos News Tuesday (May 29) that the case would likely go before a grand jury next month.

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