By Jack Molitor
The Herald Bulletin
---- — ELWOOD — The infant victim of alleged neglect by an Elwood couple has been released from the intensive care unit of Riley Hospital for Children, but could still suffer long-term effects.
On Friday, deputy prosecutor John McKay said the two-month-old boy was "out of the woods" and not in danger of death. However, the child is still at Riley for observation and still could suffer long-term damage from the incident.
As of Friday, Tyler C. Arnold, 20, and Kaylee Kelley, 22, both of Elwood, were incarcerated in Madison County Jail. Both are accused of mistreating Kelley’s child. Arnold is the son of Elwood Mayor Ron Arnold.
On Friday, deputy prosecutor Andrew Hopper said there isn't much change in the ongoing investigation of the couple, but confirmed reports that the two allegedly waited several hours before seeking medical treatment for the baby. This delay possibly aggravated the prognosis for the child.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the Department of Child Services first received a report regarding the baby’s health on Sept. 23. A family case manager informed police the next day that the baby had suffered trauma to his brain, causing subdural hemorrhaging, and was experiencing seizures, causing a lack of oxygen. The infant also suffered a fractured right femur and a broken left foot.
Dr. Ralph Hicks of Riley told police the damage seemed to have happened that weekend, and that more immediate care could have prevented complications in the child’s treatment. The doctor believed the damage was caused by violent shaking and impact against a hard surface. Hicks told police he believed the child would live, but might have permanent severe damage to his vision, hearing and speech.
According to the affidavit, Kelley reportedly told police that she and Arnold both regularly injected heroin, oxycotin and morphine. She said on that weekend, she and Arnold injected the leftover drug and pill residue from previous uses.
Kelley reportedly told investigators that on one occasion she saw Arnold shake the baby while telling him to “be quiet.” She said she was scared to tell police because Arnold allegedly told her they would go to jail if they took the baby to the hospital.
Arnold allegedly told her he was nervous because state police are investigating another crime in which he is a suspect, the affidavit said. Kelley said she believed Arnold, on another occasion, dropped the baby while Arnold was sleeping in a chair.
In the affidavit, Kelley also told police that she was thinking of taking her child to the hospital before Monday, but that Arnold had been in text conversations with Elwood Police Chief Sam Hanna, who allegedly told Arnold not to come to the hospital because he and Kelley would be arrested for suspicious activity. Hanna has denied this account.
In an interview with police on Sept. 26, Arnold denied hurting or shaking the infant, and said he was not in a relationship with Kelley. A roommate who lives in the 1000 block of North 11th Street in Elwood with Arnold later refuted that story, and told police that Arnold, Kelley and the child all live at the home.
Arnold is under in-home detention stemming from a July 2011 case. In August, he pleaded guilty to three counts of Class D felony fraud and Class D felony theft and was sentenced to 24 months, of which 18 were to be served on in-home detention.
Kelley also has felony charges pending. According to court records, she faces charges of neglect of a dependent and possession of a syringe, both Class D felonies, for an incident in March. The trial is set to begin Oct. 8 in Judge Thomas Clem’s Madison Circuit Court 5.
Officially, Arnold faces charges of neglect of a dependent, aggravated battery, criminal recklessness, maintaining a common nuisance and battery. Kelley faces charges of neglect of a dependent and maintaining a common nuisance.
According to Elwood Public Information Officer Jeff Howe, Mayor Ron Arnold declined to comment for this story.
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