FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne’s NBC) — A local couple is facing neglect charges after a child in their care sustained a serious head injury.
According to probable cause documents, 26-year-old Mercedes Tyree left her children at home with her boyfriend Zachary Copeland, 19.
Copeland claimed that in November of 2018, he was playing video games when he heard a thump from the other room. When he went to see what happened, he saw the 2-year-old lying on the floor, trying to get up.
He then called Tyree to tell her that the child fell and was having episodes of vomiting. Tyree said she was reluctant to take the girl to the hospital because she doesn’t like going. She later decided to take the girl in after she began holding her head and crying.
When police interviewed Copeland, he stated that he dropped the girl when he was holding her to his chest.
Doctors found the girl had a head injury causing blood to collect outside of her brain, and bruising on her ear and on multiple parts of her body. Doctor Demetris said they believe the wounds found on the child were inflicted and were not accidental.
“Reasonable parents and health care providers would have recognized her symptoms as reason to seek urgent medical attention in the setting of head injury,” Dr. Demetris said. “Vomiting, abnormal walking, and increased sleeping are clear concerns even in the absence of known head trauma (which was clear from the bruising seen on her head).”
Police then searched Copeland’s computer, finding search records of “signs of concussion in kid” and “baby”.
Copeland is facing charges of neglect and battery. Tyree is currently facing one charge of neglect.