NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — Parents in Noblesville are facing neglect charges after their 2-month-old baby was brought to the hospital with brain damage and broken bones.
On April 26, 24-year-old Ifrica Almalik and 35-year-old Herman James Bland III were charged with neglect resulting in catastrophic injury.
Court documents show on October 22 of 2021, Almalik and Bland III called an ambulance for their baby after he displayed seizure-like symptoms. He was taken to Ascension St. Vincent Peyton Manning Children’s Hospital and underwent emergency surgery for a brain bleed. Medical staff believed the brain bleed could have been a result of shaken baby syndrome, court documents state.
On October 24, further testing revealed the baby had a broken wrist and three broken ribs that were already starting to heal. Other injuries included: bleeding into the lining of the brain on both sides, bleeding in the back of the eyes on both side, bruising to the right eyeball and brain damage, per court documents.
A child abuse pediatric physician called the injuries life-threatening and said the brain damage is expected to cause some permanent neurological disability. The physician added that the injuries were not consistent with those expected at birth, and they were “consistent with severe physical child abuse in the form of abusive head trauma,” per court documents.
When questioned, both parents denied knowledge of any incident that could have caused harm to their child, police said. Court documents state that the parents said they did notice some things that concerned them about the baby. First, they said the child was very fussy and cried excessively for the first two weeks after bringing him home, but then his behavior suddenly changed. He rarely cried and was calm and quiet almost all the time for about two weeks before he started to fuss and whine again. Also, they noticed a red spot on his right eye when he was about 5 weeks old. They said their baby also began looking down constantly, and the size of his head grew rapidly.
The parents claimed that when they brought these concerns up to the child’s pediatrician during doctor visits, they were told the child was in good health, documents state. They said the pediatrician told them to simply put a warm clothe over his eye to treat the red spot and that his downward gaze was something called “sunset eyes” or “sundowning.”
However, when police obtained the child’s 109 pages of medical records from the his pediatrician, there were no mention mention of any of these concerns, per court documents. The medical records showed the baby was seen by his pediatrician four times between August 31 and September 30, and physical exams appeared normal. Police said they spoke with the pediatrician on March 14, and she stated than any concerns brought up during the visits would have been documented in the medical records. The pediatrician added that the child’s head growth was normal during the four times she saw him and she would report if a child was brought to her with a red spot in his eye, per court documents.
Documents state that when asked about the bone fractures, Almalik responded by saying, “I didn’t do it. That’s all I know. I wouldn’t do it, wouldn’t hurt my kids.”
Police obtained a search warrant for Almalik’s cellphone and found that she searched “can a kick to the head cause a hematoma in a newborn” and “how much force does it take to cause shaken baby syndrome?” on November 29, and on Dec. 10 she searched “how do you know if a person is guilty of baby shaken syndrome,” documents show.
Court records also detail a text message exchange between Almalik and a contact listed as “Mama Jannie” on Oct. 22:
Mama Jannie: “Hell the way you was tossing him probably shocked him you know his big head:
Almalik: “STFUUUU. I thought about that too.”
Mama Jannie: “Maaan I’m kicking yo ass. Done shook my Granny FatzaManz Up.”
Both parents had their initial court hearing on Thursday.
Anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected can report it to the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-800-5556.