Police continue investigation into alleged case of shaken baby syndrome

By  | 

Elkhart County, Ind. -- The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department is continuing its investigation into an alleged case of child abuse.

Tuesday evening police were called to the hospital after a woman claimed her daughter was beaten by her babysitter.

Due to the sensitive nature of this case, Captain James Bradberry says the investigation could take several weeks, perhaps months.

It all started when police were called to the hospital around 5 p.m. Tuesday.

"Once we got there, the report was pretty substantial as far as the allegations go," said Captain James Bradberry, Elkhart County Sheriff's Department.

An original report stated the three-month-old victim was said to have two broken legs, a broken arm and shaken baby syndrome.

"I think it's important in these types of cases, we're sensitive with the information we have, so we don't want to jump to any conclusions about anything when we look at an investigation like this," said Bradberry.

Twenty-six-year-old Evelyn Webster, the baby's mother, told police the injuries happened at a home in the 54-thousand block of Ash Road. She claims her daughter was battered by her babysitter.

"One thing that's important in a case like this is we want to protect, and make sure before we put anybody in jail for something like this, that we've done a thorough investigation," said Bradberry.

The police department's Child Victim's Unit is specially trained to analyze physical harm to children.

"So that's what we're going to concentrate on in the next several weeks, possibly months. We're going to be looking at everything, from medical records, to statements from the parents, to statements from potential suspects or witnesses," said Bradberry.

Bradberry says their ultimate goal is to ensure the child's rights are protected.

"The child obviously being three months old can't speak for itself. So you have to depend on a lot of other factors, and that's what I'm hoping, that as a department, we're going to look at this investigation and hopefully that will come to light as to what truly happened. And if someone needs to be prosecuted we'll make sure that happens," said Bradberry.

To protect the child involved, investigators are keeping sensitive information private, including both the child's name and the alleged babysitter's name.

Bradberry says officers on the case say the baby may be released from the hospital soon; however, there is no confirmation on exactly when that will happen. We've been unable to get in touch with the child's mother.

The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department's Child Victim's Unit is working on the case, along with the Department of Child Services.