Affidavit: Baby Was In ‘State Of Starvation’ In Natrona County Child Abuse Case
Natrona County Sheriff's Office investigators allege that a two-month-old infant was "in a state of starvation" while under the care of a Natrona County woman.
Dominique O. Clark is charged with two counts of child abuse and a single count of child endangerment. Child abuse is a felony punishable by up to 10 years behind bars while child endangerment is a misdemeanor punishable by a year in jail.
Clark waived a preliminary hearing earlier this week.
Charging documents filed recently in Natrona County District Court state that the child in question was not Clark's, but rather her boyfriend's. The affidavit states that Clark was responsible for the child's care as her boyfriend had an odd work schedule.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, the investigation began in late December after the child was taken to her two-month checkup. The affidavit states that, in the opinion of medical professionals, the baby should have weighed 9.81 pounds but instead weighed 6.57 pounds. The baby reportedly weighed slightly less than she did when she was born roughly two months earlier.
The affidavit alleges that, in addition to being underweight, the baby also had bruises on her face and neck that included her left eye, left ear, temple and cheek.
The baby also had a significant rash on her torso, the affidavit states.
Court documents further allege that the baby had a large bald area on the back of her head, consistent with being forced to lay down for long periods of time.
When confronted about the baby's injuries, Clark reportedly could not explain how the baby received her injuries. Medical staff told investigators that Clark said she did not believe in "that type of behavior," according to the affidavit.
Clark also reportedly told investigators that the baby's bruises could have been the result of another child dropping her.
Clark also allegedly claimed that she fed the baby eight ounces of formula every four hours "on the dot."
But a doctor in the investigation said that would mean the baby was consuming between two or three times the normal amount for a child the baby's age.
At one point, the affidavit says, a doctor and Clark discussed the amount that the baby was crying. The doctor concluded that it was likely because the baby was "starving," the affidavit states. Doctors agreed that the baby was in a state of failure to thrive due to neglect and non-accidental trauma, the affidavit states.
Sheriff's investigators also reportedly received an anonymous tip in January in which the reporting person said Clark was overheard telling her 2-year-old child, "You better behave or I'm going to hit you like your little sister," the affidavit states.
Clark will enter pleas to the charges in an arraignment hearing which has not yet been scheduled.