The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

April 26, 2013

Investigator: Toddler's injuries inconsistent with caretaker's story

OTTUMWA — An investigator found an Ottumwa man's playback of events suspicious after a toddler was allegedly assaulted this week.

At approximately 5:30 p.m. Monday, officers responded to 117 E. Woodland Ave. following a 911 call that a 2-year-old boy had passed out. Upon arrival, officers found the boy unresponsive. He was transported to Ottumwa Regional Health Center, and emergency room staff said the boy was suffering from "traumatic head injuries," according to the application for a search warrant. The boy was then life-flighted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

Officers spoke with the boy's mother, Lauren Young, and her paramour, Dustin Armstrong, at ORHC. During an interview with Armstrong, he said he was the only adult home and was the 911 caller after the boy was injured.

"Armstrong advised that [the boy] and his younger brother had been laid down for a nap," according to the application. "Upon the boys waking up, [the boy] had been whining. Armstrong stated that he had 'tapped' [the boy] on the underside of [his] chin using the back of his hand. Armstrong stated that he might have caught [the boy's] tongue between [his] teeth."

Armstrong told officers that the boy then went into the bathroom to use his potty training chair, during which Armstrong left the bathroom for a few seconds.

"When he returned, he observed [the boy] have some type of seizure and become unresponsive," according to the application.

He said the boy fell over in the training chair and onto the floor. He then used glasses of water to splash the boy in an attempt to get him to respond, then put the boy in bed.

"Upon picking [the boy] up from his bed, he shook [him] to try and wake him up," according to the application. "Armstrong stated that he was freaked out and might have shaken [the boy] vigorously. When Armstrong described picking [the boy] up just prior to shaking him, he stated blood had come out of [the boy's] mouth."

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