A Blair man is facing felony child abuse charges after he allegedly assaulted a 7-month-old boy at his fiancee's unlicensed home day care.
Davante L. Van Loon, 24, is charged with five counts of intentional child abuse with injury, a Class 2 felony; and two counts of intentional child abuse without injury, a Class 3A felony.
He appeared Monday in Washington County Court. His bond is set at $250,000 or 10 percent. A further arraignment hearing is set for April 17.
According to an arrest affidavit, the infant was taken to the emergency room at Memorial Community Hospital and Health System by his mother at 4:50 p.m. March 26. He had a limp and swollen right arm.
The mother told officers the child's day care provider had contacted her about the injury.
The attending physician in Blair determined the infant's arm was broken. Due to the child's age and the severity of the injury, he was transported to Children's Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha.
A doctor there noted the infant had a severe break in the right upper arm near the elbow.
Further examination showed several fractured bones in various states of healing. The injuries included fractures in the left upper arm, left forearm, right forearm, two healing fractures in the left tibia and one in the left fibula. The examination also documented bruises in the pubic area and a cut under the baby's tongue, which was a result of a person force feeding the child.
A child abuse pediatrics specialist examined the infant and concluded the injuries observed are consistent with child abuse over a period not greater than one month, the report said. The injuries were not accidental, she said.
The infant was taken into surgery, where he received three temporary pins in his right elbow.
The child's mother told a Blair police detective that her children attended the day care, which is operated by Morgan Lee, five days a week. She began dropping them off Feb. 18. She had seen Van Loon at the residence at least four times a week.
When the woman picked up her children March 26 following the report of the injury, she said Van Loon watched her fasten the children in their car seats. As she was leaving, Van Loon allegedly told her that he hoped the child would be alright and to call them with the results of the doctor visit.
The woman told the detective she found this strange since Van Loon is not the day care provider.
During an interview at the Blair Police station, Van Loon told the detective that on March 26 the child was crying. He picked him up and wrapped him tightly in a blanket before handing the child to Lee.
He said Lee then unwrapped the child because it was too tight.
Van Loon then told the detective on March 21 he was helping the infant learn how to walk. The child had his feet on the ground and Van Loon had his arms under the child's armpits. He said another child distracted him and he removed his arms, causing the infant to fall.
When the detective told Van Loon the child also had broken bones in his arms and legs, Van Loon said he had fallen and collided with the boy's forearm and leg.
Van Loon denied forcing a bottle into the infant's mouth.
Lee, Van Loon's fiancee, has operated the day care since January, according to the affidavit. She admitted she is not licensed by the state and has as many as eight children in her care, most of whom are between infant age and three years old. One child is five years old.
Lee told the detective Van Loon is the only other adult in the home. She said he doesn't have much contact with the other children in the day care. However, he often holds the infant who was injured.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), a Family Child Care Home I license is required to serve at least four but not more than eight children.
Washington County Attorney Scott Vander Schaaf said his office was making a referral to DHHS regarding Lee's day care to begin an investigation given that the day care is not licensed and an incident in which a child was injured took place there.
According to the report, officers believe the child's parents didn't have any involvement in his injuries.
This isn't the first time Van Loon has faced trouble with the law.
Van Loon was sentenced to prison in January 2016 for his role in a shooting near a Fort Calhoun school.
He was sentenced to 18 to 48 months for possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver, a Class 3 felony. He served six months before being paroled on July 14, 2016. He was released from his parole on March 2, 2017.
Van Loon pleaded guilty to setting up a drug deal June 23, 2015, in the parking lot of Fort Calhoun Elementary. Those individuals expected to buy the drugs instead tried to rob Van Loon and Curtis Frost.
Frost got out of the vehicle and fired shots at the four individuals in a Lincoln Town Car.