GREENFIELD, Ind. (The Reporter) — The teen parents of a baby put on life support at an Indianapolis hospital in November will face neglect charges as adults, a judge ruled Tuesday.
Sixteen-year-old Brandon Kimberlin and his girlfriend, Caitlin Mann, who recently turned 18, both of 703 Brook St., Greenfield, are accused of neglecting their baby boy. Doctors found the infant suffered broken bones and bleeding in his brain when he was 8 weeks old — injuries they told police were consistent with shaken baby syndrome, according to court documents.
The baby is stable, has been released from the hospital and is living with a relative, officials said. But there is no telling what the long-term effects of his injuries will be, officials said.
Newly appointed Hancock Circuit Court Judge Scott Sirk heard testimony in a closed hearing Tuesday afternoon before signing a petition that waived the two teens from juvenile probation into adult court. Sirk then publicly informed the pair of the series of felony charges they face.
Brandon, who is charged with four felonies including aggravated battery, is accused of inflicting the injuries. They included bleeding to the brain, rib fractures, a broken thigh bone and swelling of tissue in the neck, court documents state. He was the only one caring for the baby when he was injured, police say.
Mann — who was 17 when her son was hospitalized — didn’t do enough to seek help for the baby when it became clear he was injured, investigators say. She faces three felony charges of neglect.
The baby’s paternal grandparents, who live in the same Greenfield home, face similar allegations, records show.
The baby was rushed to Hancock Regional Hospital’s emergency department Nov. 11 after his breathing became irregular, court documents state. His heart stopped while doctors there were examining him, and he was flown to Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis for further life-saving care, court documents state.
Doctors at Peyton Manning hospital placed the child on life support and told police his injuries could have been caused only by abusive head trauma, according to court documents.
Now, Brandon faces a Level 3 felony count of aggravated battery, two Level 3 felony counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in injury and one Level 5 felony count of neglect of a dependent resulting in injury, officials said.
Mann, and Brandon’s parents — Pearl Holland, 38, and Heath Kimberlin, 41 — each face two Level 3 felony counts of neglect of a dependent resulting in injury and one Level 5 felony count of neglect of a dependent resulting in injury, officials said.
Holland and Kimberlin were arrested Dec. 11 but have since posted bond and were released from the Hancock County Jail.
Brandon and Mann were taken into the custody the same day and awaited Tuesday’s hearing from a juvenile detention center in Muncie. After Sirk waived the teens into adult court, they were handcuffed and escorted to the jail.
Both were being held at press time, Brandon on a $5,000 cash bond and Mann on a $1,000 cash bond. If they post bond and are released from jail, they must wear GPS monitors until the case is formally settled.
Asking that teens be waived into adult court isn’t a decision local prosecutors take lightly, Chief Deputy Prosecutor Marie Castetter said.
Teens are still developing and can make mistakes; but when a crime is severe enough, when its repercussions are concerning, it’s something to consider, said Castetter, who is leading the state’s case.
Though they are young, Brandon and Mann have made very adult decisions already, Castetter said. Namely, they chose to raise their child, accepting all the responsibilities that come with parenthood, she said.
When doctors and police determined the child had been badly hurt, likely by someone who was supposed to be caring for him, all his caregivers, even the youngest ones, needed to held responsible and face the consequences, she said.
The baby was born prematurely Sept. 29 and spent much of the first month of his life in the neonatal intensive care unit at St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.
On Oct. 25, the baby was discharged and brought to the home on Brook Street in Greenfield where his young parents and grandparents lived.
A little more than two weeks later, late on Nov. 10, paramedics with the Greenfield Fire Territory were called to the home after the baby reportedly had trouble breathing and appeared to have coughed up blood, court documents state.
The baby’s caregivers told first-responders the baby had awoken from a nap and appeared to be gasping for air. They also found what appeared to be dried blood in and around the child’s mouth, and they decided to call for help, according to court documents.
Paramedics examined the baby and recommended he be taken to the hospital for further care; but the family refused to have the baby transported, court documents state.
Early the next morning — about six hours after paramedics left the Brook Street home — the family rushed the child to Hancock Regional Hospital. They told doctors there the baby hadn’t eaten but was having fits of vomiting, court documents state.
Doctors noted the baby’s skin had turned blue and gray in color and felt cold to the touch, court documents state. As doctors examined him, the baby went into cardiac arrest, and doctors began CPR, court documents state.
Doctors pinpointed Nov. 7 and Nov. 10 as the days they believe the child was harmed, according to court documents.
Brandon was home alone with the baby on those days, police said.
All four defendants deny harming the baby and have pleaded not guilty to the charges they face.
Each was interviewed by police in the days after the baby was hospitalized, records show.
The baby’s mother and grandparents told investigators they didn’t know how the baby’s injuries occurred, court documents state.
The baby’s father was present for every interview that took place but did not speak to investigators, court documents state.