OTTUMWA — Family and friends of a hospitalized toddler are waiting for answers, as are local police.
On April 22, officers found a 2-year-old boy unresponsive at his home in the 100 block of East Woodland Avenue. He was immediately transported to Ottumwa Regional Health Center and then life-flighted to University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, where he remains today.
"The reason we haven't done anything is we have to get doctor's reports, and that's a long process," said Ottumwa Police Chief Tom McAndrew. "We have to have several specialists look at his injuries, if they're consistent with an accident or with being assaulted or some type of abuse."
While no suspects have been named, interviews conducted and a search warrant executed at the home the following day have led investigators to question the story of Dustin Dewayne Armstrong, the boy's mother's paramour, who was the only adult at the home at the time of the incident.
Investigator Aaron Vose said he doesn't believe Armstrong's account of events to be consistent with the injuries described by medical personnel.
"[The boy] was described as having significant head injuries," Vose wrote in search warrant documentation. "None of the events described by Armstrong would account for these injuries. ... your affiant believes that [the boy's] injuries are the result of some type of assault rather than one of the mechanisms described by Armstrong."
Armstrong told law enforcement that the toddler had suffered from a seizure and passed out. ORHC emergency room staff told police the boy was suffering from "traumatic head injuries" when he arrived.
"We did our investigation, and we have all of our information about it, what we were told happened, and we'll compare that to what the experts say," McAndrew said. "After we get the report, we'll have to confer with the [Wapello] County Attorney's office and see what they think we need to do."
McAndrew said the county attorney has to make sure the police have enough evidence if they plan to file criminal charges.