Abused infant dies; no bond for suspect

5:34 PM, Mar 11, 2010   |    comments
  • Mark Ward
  • Ryan Joe Clarke
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Lakeland, Florida - No bond today for a man accused of critically injuring a 7-month-old Lakeland boy. Lakeland Police say 29-year-old Ryan Joe Clarke lost his temper and inflicted severe head injuries to the baby, Mark Ward.

Late Thursday afternoon, the baby was taken off life support and died.

Police identified Clarke as the infant's stepfather, who was babysitting the boy when he was injured. Police say the baby's grandmother, Brigit Ward, has custody of the child and had asked Clarke to babysit when she couldn't find anyone else to watch the boy.

The baby's mother is Rian Basarich. She and the suspect live in Orlando.

Today in a Polk County courtroom, Clarke made his first appearance on charges of Aggravated Child Abuse and Attempted Murder.

Authorities say the case is still under investigation and additional charges may be filed against the State Attorney's office now that the infant has died.

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