GREENFIELD, Ind. (WISH) — Hancock County prosecutors announced Tuesday two teenage parents are facing charges as their 2-month-old baby recovers from what investigators described as life-threatening injuries.
Doctors said the baby’s injuries are consistent with child abuse, according to prosecutors.
County Prosecutor Brent Eaton said he’s working to charge the 16-year-old and 17-year-old parents as adults. For now, Eaton won’t release their names or the exact charges against them.
“Whenever there’s a situation like this, it’s real tough,” Eaton said. “There’s some cases which will keep you up at night more than others will. That said, we’re always wanna be professionals and do the job the very best we can.”
The baby’s grandparents, 41-year-old Heath Kimberlin and 38-year-old Pearl Holland, both entered pleas of not guilty Tuesday to charges of neglect of a dependent. Investigators said they did not do enough to care for and protect the baby, who was born prematurely.
Kimberlin and Holland did not say a word as they walked into court.
Investigators believe the 16-year-old dad abused the baby last month while the grandparents were at work.
Court records show Holland called 911 and said her grandson was coughing blood. The family said they didn’t want to take the baby to the hospital but, the next day, investigators said the family did take the baby to the hospital.
Detectives said the baby had broken ribs, injuries to the neck, spine and brain, and had to be put on life support.
Doug Ramsey lives around the corner from the suspects.
“I’ve got children and grandchildren myself. It’s kind of upsetting,” Ramsey said. “It kind of shocked me, actually, in my neighborhood. This is a pretty laid back neighborhood.”
Court records show the grandparents told police they don’t know what caused the injuries.
The baby is now in custody of the state and in stable condition. Police said they don’t know yet whether any of the baby’s injuries will be permanent.
“You hear about it on TV and in other places but not in your own neighborhood,” Ramsey said.
The grandparents are scheduled for trial in late January. Court security told a 24-Hour News 8 reporter to leave a courtroom before the teenage parents’ hearings Monday.