Babysitter Autumn Skuse says that she is seeking mental health treatment after she was arrested this week in connection with a horrifying child abuse incident that caused severe head injuries to an 8-month-old baby, according to a report by WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
At least that’s what Skuse told the baby’s mom — but police and the judicial system now have other plans for Skuse, who was arrested on Monday and charged with first-degree child abuse after what prosecutors say she did to little Thomas Pierson on April 4.
— Sarah Hurwitz (@sehurwitz) August 8, 2016
Fortunately, little Thomas survived his shocking and sickening ordeal, and after several days in Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, the baby is home with his parents in Ionia, Michigan, waiting for his multiple skull fractures and broken ribs to heal.
Skuse, according to a WXMI TV news report, had been a babysitter for little Thomas for three months, and mom Rachel Pierson said that she never saw any signs that Skuse was anything but a model caretaker.
But both Rachel and her husband were at work on Thursday, August 4, when the mom got a call from Skuse — followed by a personal message via Facebook — informing the parents that little Thomas had been playing while sitting on the hardwood floor in the family’s home, when he fell backward and bumped his head.
Rachel Pierson told Skuse to call 911, and by the time she got home, the paramedics were already there, attending to the little boy. When they took Thomas to the hospital, that’s when doctors realized right away that the baby’s injuries were not the result of a routine fall.
“This absolutely did not happen from him sitting on the floor and falling back and bumping his head,” Pierson told WXMI. “The doctor said, ‘These injuries could not have been sustained from the story the babysitter was giving. There’s a lot more to this that she is not telling you.'”
The following video news report from West Michigan station WOOD TV contains further details on the disturbing case.
Indeed, there was much more that Skuse was not telling the parents about her treatment of the little boy. According to the mom, Skuse confessed to her that she forcibly threw the baby to the floor.
“She said he was supposed to land on a pillow,” the mom recounted to WZZM. “Obviously he didn’t. She said she was abused herself as a child and and she’s going to the mental health hospital.”
Even more upsetting, doctors told Rachel Pierson that in addition to the head injuries, including three fractures to the baby’s skull that resulted in bleeding on his brain, little Thomas suffered from cracked ribs that were already in the process of healing — meaning that the injuries were at least three weeks old, possibly indicating that Autumn Skuse had been abusing the baby all along.
“I wanted to kill her,” the mom said. “I want her to be in jail forever.”
Eight-month-old Thomas also had a broken leg, from an earlier injury that, police say, likely resulted from something Skuse did to him.
— WOOD TV8 (@WOODTV) August 8, 2016
Police also investigated the parents, but concluded that they were not suspects in the abuse of Baby Thomas.
How the horrible injuries allegedly inflicted by Autumn Skuse will affect Thomas as his life goes on remains unclear. The little boy was placed on medication to prevent seizures, but according to the mom’s account on a GoFundMe page created to help alleviate medical expenses for Baby Thomas, neurosurgeons who examined the little boy say that at least as of now, he will not need brain surgery.
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The couple have an older son who was also examined for signs of abuse, but none were found.
Autumn Skuse pleaded not guilty in a district court on Tuesday to one count of first-degree child abuse. Her bond was set at $50,000.
[Images via Ionia Police Department]