Tot abused; man charged
A 2-year-old Kittanning girl nearly died from being repeatedly kicked and punched by a caretaker, state police said Tuesday.
State police charged Bryant Kimball Yeaples, 22, of Hill Avenue, West Kittanning, after being contacted Oct. 26 about a suspected child abuse victim in the emergency room at ACMH Hospital in East Franklin.
The injuries the girl suffered happened while she was in Yeaples' care between the night of Oct. 25 and the next morning, police said.
The girl's mother had left the girl and two other children with Yeaples at her Kittanning home while she was at work, police said. The girl is not Yeaples' biological child.
The mother told police that the girl was sluggish and unable to stand on her own when she woke up the morning of Oct. 26.
At ACMH, the girl was unresponsive and had multiple facial bruises, according to police. She was flown to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, where she was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit.
There, a doctor said the girl's injuries included serious wounds to her liver, pancreas, kidneys, small intestine, stomach, and ribs, according to court documents. There was blood in her abdominal cavity, fluid in her lungs and air outside the lungs in her chest cavity.
She had also suffered multiple facial bruises, massive face and head swelling and bruising on her back and all extremities.
The doctor said the girl's injuries happened from “extraordinarily violent” action, including being repeatedly kicked and punched, and were inflicted by an adult.
State police questioned Yeaples that day. He claimed he had flicked her mouth with his fingers and put her in a corner after the girl bit his hand.
He claimed the girl had suffered “some type of seizure” the night of Oct. 25, but said she was breathing properly and did not seek medical care for her.
He claimed bruises on the girl's back were from him patting her, possibly too hard, and squeezing her stomach after she swallowed water during a bath a couple of days before. He said one of the other children had sat on her head, and that she had stopped breathing.
Yeaples allegedly told police he did not take the girl to the hospital because he got all of the water out and she seemed fine.
He also claimed to have performed the Heimlich maneuver on the girl about a week before after the girl had choked on four cigarette butts and was unable to breathe. He did not seek medical care for her after that incident, either.
However, the doctor at Children's Hospital said the stories did not explain the girl's injuries.
The doctor “stated that this case was a near-fatality and (the girl) would have died without medical intervention,” according to court documents.
Police charged Yeaples with aggravated and simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person. He was arraigned before District Judge James Andring and placed in the Armstrong County Jail on $50,000 bond.
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4701 or firstname.lastname@example.org.