A Kansas woman was convicted last week for abusing a 4-month-old boy at an unlicensed daycare, it was reported.
Paige Hatfield, 27, was found guilty of aggravated battery after abusing infant Kingston Gilbert in 2017, WDAF-TV reported.
Kingston had been in the care of Hatfield for about 11 days when the abuse took place, the report said.
On Jan. 31, 2017, she called 911 and said the infant was vomiting, but doctors later determined the boy’s injuries were caused “by violent non-accidental physical trauma,” according to court documents.
“Ms. Hatfield repeatedly denied that (the baby) suffered a fall or was injured in any way in her care,” a detective wrote in the court documents, reported the Kansas City Star.
“We spent 18 days in the intensive care unit just praying that he got through,” the victim’s mother, Ashleigh Garcia, told the WDAF.
The abuse left the boy blind and suffering from developmental issues, according to the Star’s report a the time of her arrest.
"We pretty much had to grieve the loss of our child and accept that the baby that we were bringing home was not the baby that I dropped off at daycare that day." 💔
James Anderst, division director of child abuse pediatrics at Children’s Mercy, said the baby had brain bleeding in three different locations. He also suffered eye damage, the Star reported.
The immediate symptoms of those types of injuries include seizures, vomiting, and unconsciousness, Anderst said.
“We were told by doctors he is never going to be the same boy. I mean, we pretty much had to grieve the loss of our child and accept that the baby that we were bringing home was not the baby that I dropped off at daycare that day,” Garcia told WDAF.
"We pretty much had to grieve the loss of our child and accept that the baby that we were bringing home was not the baby that I dropped off at nursery that day"
Both parents testified during the trial that their son acted normally before he was dropped off at the daycare in Olathe, Kansas. Kingston had been in her care for about six hours before she got help, the Star reported.
Prosecutors are now asking for an enhanced sentence because Hatfield worked as a child care provider. The sentencing phase of the trial is in March.
In court, Hatfield had testified that she didn’t hurt the child, KWCH reported.
She was also found guilty of unlawfully running a daycare out of her home, KHSB reported.
Eldonna Chesnut, a director of child care licensing for the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment in Kansas, told the Star that officials see more issues at unlicensed daycares.
“We see more problems with illegal daycares where nobody is checking,” she said.
Her attorney’s information was not available as of Wednesday.
Other details about the case are not clear.
Olathe, which has a population of about 120,000, is located in the Kansas City metropolitan area.
One of The Nation’s Most Serious Concerns
According to a report published by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (pdf), around 3.5 million children in 2016 were the subjects of at least one maltreatment report to authorities.
“Child abuse is one of the nation’s most serious concerns,” the authors of the report wrote. About 17 percent of those reports were substantiated, and the department said that there were an estimated 676,000 victims of child abuse and neglect.
That amounts to 9.1 victims per 1,000 children. Children in their first year of life had the highest rate of victimization at 24.8 per 1,000 children, the report said. About three-fourths of the cases were neglect, and about 18 percent were physical abuse.
Some children suffered from multiple forms of maltreatment, the HHS said.
The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is available at 1-800-422-4453 or at Childhelp.org.