Ogden baby's death couldn't have been from accidental fall, court documents say

Thursday , October 13, 2016 - 3:53 PM

LORETTA PARK, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — An 8-week-old infant who died under suspicious circumstances last week suffered multiple injuries prior to her death, police say.

Though her father, Michael Lee Hatton, 25, said he dropped the baby, doctors with Primary Children’s Hospital said Avery Hatton’s “injuries were severe and could not have been the result of an accidental fall,” a probable cause statement says. He was charged with one count of first-degree murder and booked into Weber County Jail on Friday, Oct. 7.

An autopsy performed by the state medical examiner’s office determined the child’s cause of death was blunt force trauma, with the manner of death listed as homicide, the court document says.

The baby’s mother and her roommate began driving the infant to McKay-Dee Hospital after she stopped breathing at about 6 p.m. Oct. 2, the court document says. When the girl’s pulse stopped, her mother called 911 and was instructed to wait for an ambulance.

The child was taken to McKay-Dee, then airlifted to Primary Children’s Hospital, where she died at about 1 a.m. Oct. 5.

In an interview with police, Hatton said he dropped the baby Sept. 25 while he was feeding her, the court document says. He told police that after the fall, the infant stopped breathing three times while he was showering her on Sept. 26, Sept. 30 and Oct. 2, the court document says.

Hatton told police he was the only one home when the baby fell and each time she stopped breathing, the court record states.

A doctor with Primary Children’s Center for Safe and Healthy Families, Brooks Keeshin, was assigned to the case and asked to conduct X-rays on the child. The court document says Avery had suffered multiple injuries at various points of the healing process, including:

  • A fractured left skull
  • Lacerations to her brain
  • Four fractured ribs
  • A fractured clavicle
  • A fractured humerus
  • A fractured distal femur
  • A fractured forearm
  • A fractured distal tibia
  • Stretching of the spine

Primary Children’s Hospital doctors told police the fractures to the baby’s clavicle and humerus happened four to seven days prior to Oct. 2, and the skull and rib fractures “appeared to be recent, as they had not begun to heal,” the court document says.

Keeshin told police lacerations to Avery’s brain tissue likely happened moments before she stopped breathing Oct. 2, the court record says.

Keeshin told officers the injuries were “caused from either pulling of the limbs and/or from extreme violent shaking,” according to the document. 

The baby’s mother told hospital staff the left side of the infant’s head was swollen and she had difficulty waking up the morning after the fall, the document says. 

Hatton is being held in the Weber County Jail in lieu of a $1 million bail.

A bail hearing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, before Judge Ernie Jones. 

You can reach reporter Loretta Park lpark@standard.net or at 801-625-4252. Follow her on Twitter@LorettaPark SE or like her on Facebook.

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