A Booneville man has been charged with first-degree battery almost three months after he took his stepdaughter to the hospital with severe brain injuries.
The charge was filed Tuesday against 26-year-old Thomas Smith Tuesday. The charge is a Class Y felony punishable by 10 to 40 years in prison, or a life sentence.
Smith and the child’s mother, Jennifer Shook, took the then 18-month-old girl to the Booneville Hospital emergency room on Sept. 16, according to the arrest warrant. The child was unconscious, and a brain scan revealed swelling and bleeding on her brain, the warrant states.
An X-ray also showed old rib fractures, leading the admitting doctor to believe the child had been a victim of prior abuse, the warrant states.
Smith told officials he’d put the child down for a nap and returned later to find her gasping for air, half off of the bed and “limp like a noodle,” according to the warrant.
The child was taken to Arkansas Children’s Hospital for emergency surgery. She is still hospitalized.
The child was a victim of an abusive head injury and had rib fractures indicating previous abuse, according to a report by Dr. Jerry Jones, director of the hospital's Team for Children at Risk.
The child's mother was not been charged.
Patricia McLemore identified the child as Brookelynn LeeAnn Davis and cared for her as a grandchild until recently. McLemore's son, Christopher Davis is the child's father.
Although, according to McLemore paternity tests are being done to determine who the child's father is.
Davis is currently incarcerated in the state prison system.