A 3-month-old girl is at an Indianapolis hospital with a skull fracture and her father is in jail, charged with severely beating her.

Anderson police arrested Keith E. Richardson, 27, Anderson, shortly before 11 a.m. Tuesday in the 4500 block of Columbus Avenue. He is formally charged with aggravated battery and criminal confinement, both Class B felonies; intimidation, a Class C felony; and domestic battery, a Class D felony.

The violence erupted when Richardson returned to the second-floor apartment he shares with the child’s mother, Oreather C. Fletcher, their infant daughter, Shaneice, and Fletcher’s 2-year-old daughter in the 1800 block of East Eighth Street about 7:30 a.m. after spending the night out drinking, according to court documents filed with the charges.

Fletcher said she was in bed and had to get up to let Richardson in. Before she let him inside the home, she picked up the 3-month-old and placed her down on the couch.

Fletcher and Richardson began arguing when she told him she wanted him to get his belongings and move out.

As the argument escalated, Richardson went into the kitchen and returned with a 12-inch knife, pushed Fletcher down on the couch and stood over her. Fletcher picked up the child.

She said he then told her, “if you call the police, you won’t be here to talk to them.”

Richardson wouldn’t let Fletcher leave and waved the knife in her face. When Fletcher asked if he was going to kill her, he dropped the knife and began punching her in the face even though she was holding the baby, Fletcher told police.

According to police, several of Richardson’s blows landed on the infant.

Fletcher first tried escaping into the bathroom, but Richardson followed her in. She then ran to a bedroom and grabbed her 2-year-old daughter, whose name wasn’t released. Fletcher then fled the apartment and went to a neighbor’s apartment with her children in tow.

“I heard thumping upstairs but I had no idea,” said Lois A. Miles, who lives below the couple. “I was in bed sleeping and I heard banging on the door.”

Miles said Fletcher’s left eye was swollen. She had a cut under her right eye and a knot on her head.

“He hit her pretty hard,” Miles said. “The baby looked fine, but she had a knot on her head.”

Richardson had followed Fletcher, whose age wasn’t available, to the lower apartment. He broke her cell phone and snatched her keys. He then pushed her, trying to knock her to the ground, Miles said.

Richardson then got in Fletcher’s car and fled before police arrived, according to court documents.

Miles said the couple had been living upstairs since she moved into her apartment about a year ago. She said she couldn’t recall any similar incidents happening at the apartment.

Anderson police Detective Joel Sandefur said he doesn’t believe Richardson meant to strike the child.

“He was trying to get to (Fletcher) and she was holding the baby,” he said. “I don’t think it was done intentionally.”

Shaneice was taken to St. John’s Medical Center where tests revealed the infant suffered a skull fracture and had bleeding on the brain. Sandefur said the girl also suffered a ruptured spleen and broken ribs.

She was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children and was listed in fair condition Wednesday night.

Anderson police used the OnStar security system in Fletcher’s car to track Richardson to his mother’s home on Columbus Avenue where he was taken into custody, according to court documents.

He is being held without bond in the Madison County jail for possible parole violations connected to his being sentenced in 2005 for felony drunk driving.

Richardson made his initial appearance before Madison County Magistrate Stephen Clase on Wednesday. Clase entered an automatic plea of not guilty on Richardson’s behalf. He also approved the appointment of a public defender, although Richardson said he would try to get his own lawyer.

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