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Man allegedly abused nine-month old girl until she was unresponsive

Crime Watch

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EDITOR’S NOTE: This story contains details of alleged child abuse. Reader discretion is advised.

BLACKFOOT — Police arrested a Blackfoot man who allegedly abused a nine-month-old girl until she was unresponsive.

First responders were called to a Blackfoot home on Jan. 6 when the baby’s grandmother reported Derrick Joseph Bowers, 25, ran into her room carrying the girl. The grandmother reported the girl was limp and lifeless so she yelled for someone to call 911 while she tried to revive the girl, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

When Blackfoot police officers arrived, the girl was breathing again but seemed unresponsive as they loaded her into an ambulance and took her to Bingham Memorial Hospital. At the hospital, medical staff determined the baby recently had her skull fractured in addition to a brain bleed, broken ribs and bruising in various stages of healing across her body.

Investigators learned the baby’s mother was at work when Bowers cared for the child. Deputies spoke to Bowers over the phone after he went to work. He told police the baby had recently woken up and he left the room to make a bottle, according to court documents. When he returned, she was unresponsive. He explained he could not think of any reason the baby would have been in distress.

Detectives wanted to speak with Bowers in person and learned he left work early. Instead of going home, he drove to Pocatello. Police eventually found Bowers, pulled him over and brought him in for questioning.

Police told Bowers they did not think he told the truth about what happened.

“Derrick stated that if he did, he would go to jail,” according to the probable cause affidavit.

During the interview, Bowers described pushing the baby’s head back the day before during a diaper change. He also explained he held the child aggressively as the girl struggled, according to court documents. Bowers said when he went to get the baby a bottle on Jan. 6, he found the baby had fallen off the bed and was on the floor unconscious.

“Derrick was weeping throughout my conversation and referred to himself as a ‘piece of s***,'” an officer wrote. “Derrick repeatedly stated out loud ‘I’m sorry.'”

Medical staff told investigators the baby’s injuries could not have been from falling off a bed, police wrote in their report. Officers learned the injuries would have come from multiple events of physical abuse and trauma.

Police arrested Bowers and booked him into the Bingham County Jail for felony injury to a child. Prosecutors opted to add a persistent violater sentencing enhancement, Idaho’s version of a three-strike rule which could add five years to life to his sentence if convicted.

Bowers has previous felony convictions in Bingham County for grand theft and burglary, according to court records.

Bowers had his initial court appearance Thursday. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Feb. 3.

Although Bowers is accused of a crime it does not necessarily mean he committed it. Everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.