Couple arrested after 4-month-old boy found with severe injuries
TETON — A Fremont County couple was arrested Friday after a four-month-old baby boy suffered severe injuries.
Mekenzie Grant, 27, and Lindsey Slagle, 20, are charged with felony injury to a child. According to an affidavit of probable cause obtained by EastIdahoNews.com, the couple told conflicting stories on how the boy received the injuries.
On Friday, Fremont County Sherriff deputies were called to perform a welfare check on the boy at a camper trailer where the couple and boy lived. While there, investigators discovered injuries under the child’s onesie.
A deputy observed the boy had bruises on his chest and neck. In the probable cause, the deputy also noted scrapes on the baby’s head as well as red marks all over his back. Deputies also noticed the 4-month-old boy had piercings in his ears.
When initially asked what happened, Slagle said the injuries occurred while family members were watching the boy in Idaho Falls. Slagle said it took the help from Idaho Falls Police to get the boy back into her care.
The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare was called and workers took the baby into custody. Investigators wrote in the probable cause that Slagle and Grant showed no concern over a caseworker taking their child.
Both were arrested and taken to the Fremont County Jail. While there, Grant met with investigators.
“He stated he did not know how the injuries got there but stated Slagle will blame it all on him,” court documents read. “He stated that Slagle always blames other people to get herself out of trouble.”
According to court documents, Grant told investigators he and Slagle had pierced the baby’s ears on their own with earrings they had in the trailer. When asked, Grant reportedly said he didn’t think it was a big deal since “males get their ears pierced all the time.”
Grant said the boy allegedly fell from a seat once but did not fall on the floor.
When investigators spoke with Slagle, a very different story emerged. Slagle told investigators that Grant has a history of abusing children.
Slagle said that the night before, the baby started to cry. She said Grant grabbed the baby by the throat and began to “choke him out.” She explained that Grant would push the baby’s face into the blankets and the bruising came from Grant squeezing the boy as hard as he could. The abrasion on the boy’s head allegedly came from him scooting across the carpet.
When asked why she did not call 911, Slagle reportedly told deputies she did not have a phone and Grant would not let her use his.
When talking about the piercings, Slagle said Grant held the boy on the table in the camper, removed his own earings and then put them into the baby’s ears. Slagle said she allegedly tried to talk him out of it.
Slagle said she recently took the boy to Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center because Grant shook the boy. She said everything turned out okay and the case was closed.
While the full extent of the baby’s injuries are unknown, court documents show doctors found fractured ribs and a CT scan was being conducted to look for more injuries.
In a criminal complaint, Fremont County Prosecuting Attorney Marcia Murdoch charged Slagle with the crime since she did not allegedly stop Grant from hurting the child. Grant is charged for actually inflicting the injuries, prosecutors allege.
Both appeared before Magistrate Judge Faren Eddins Monday afternoon. Slagle was released on her own recognizance while Eddins set Grant’s bail at $20,000.
A preliminary hearing for Grant is scheduled for Aug. 31. Slagle’s court docket was not publically available as of Monday evening.