Lakeland infant still in critical condition after police say his head was hit against the wall 4 times

4:28 PM, Mar 9, 2010   |    comments
  • Mark Ward
  • Ryan Joe Clarke
    
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Lakeland, Florida -- A 7-month-old boy remains in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital after his stepfather allegedly banged the boy's head against a wall four times.

The infant's grandmother Bridgit Ward came home late Saturday night to find her grandson wheezing and cold to the touch, according to police reports. The infant, Mark Ward, was being watched by his stepfather Ryan Clarke, 29, of Orlando. She and Clarke brought the baby to Lakeland Regional Medical Center.

He was eventually airlifted to TGH to treat his injuries. The baby had multiple skull fractures and bleeding on his brain. His brain had shifted from left to right and his retinas were detached, according to police reports. 

"The doctors that examined him felt the injuries he sustained could not have happened on accident," said Terri Smith, spokeswoman for Lakeland Police Department.

Clarke was arrested Monday night in Orlando and taken to an Orange County jail where he remains. He is charged with attempted murder and aggravated child abuse, both first-degree felony offenses.

Clarke initially gave the Lakeland police different stories as to what happened to his stepson. He eventually told the baby's mother Rian Basarich what happened over a phone call monitored by police.

Clarke told Basarich that he hit the baby's head against the wall about four times out of frustration. The baby would not stop crying, Clarke said according to police reports.

Bridgit Ward has legal custody of the infant. Basarich signed away legal custody of her baby to her mother Feb. 28 to "straighten her life out," according to police reports.

Amy Mariani, 10 Connects

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