JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 5-month-old boy is on life support after his babysitter confessed to forcibly throwing the infant into a playpen Tuesday afternoon, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office said.
The babysitter, Barbara Kendrick, is charged with aggravated child abuse, police said.
During her first appearance in court Wednesday, a judge ordered Kendrick held on $500,000 bond in the Duval County Jail.
News4Jax tried to talk with her family after the hearing, but they declined.
Officers responded about 2:15 p.m. Tuesday to Davis Road in Oceanway after receiving a call that the 5-month-old was not breathing. According to the arrest report, officers found Kendrick performing CPR on the child, who appeared to be "unconscious and pale in color."
The baby suffered a fractured skull and was taken to UF Health in life-threatening condition and then transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Wolfson Children's Hospital, Sheriff's Office Sgt. Jay Farhat said at a news conference Tuesday evening.
"Once the child arrived at the hospital, the doctors were able to determine the child had internal injuries that were consistent with some type of trauma," Farhat said.
Kendrick, 65, was taken in to be interviewed by homicide detectives. During the interview, Farhat said, she confessed to throwing the baby, with force, into its play-and-pack, because he had been fussy due to teething and fever.
"It appears she got a little frustrated at some point, and possibly lost her temper," Farhat said.
Kendrick went to a neighbor for help before calling 911, investigators said.
Farhat said the 5-month-old's parents, who were working at the time, had been taking the child to the babysitter's Northside home for a little over a month. The child's name has not yet been released.
"There is no blood relation, but we believe they are somehow related through marriage. One of her relatives is married to one of the father's relatives," Farhat said.
At last check, Farhat said, the 5-month-old was in critical condition.
"The doctors at Wolfson hospital are reviewing the child at this point, and the prognosis is not good. If any changes in the child's condition we will update those charges to murder at a later time," Farhat said. "Anytime you have a small child injured, it's really heartbreaking and we take these cases to heart."
News4Jax crime and safety analyst Gil Smith said it's not unusual for a woman or a family to be abusive toward a child.
"We see this with child abuse and also with elderly abuse, people of that age range taking care of kids or senior citizens," Smith said. "It really depends on how much patience they have with children. Some people just should not be working with small babies because they scream, they need a lot of care and attention, and sometimes they don’t have that patience. Sometimes they go to far, and they just lose it -- that may be the case here."
Even though police said Kendrick admitted to throwing the baby, the investigation is far from over, according to Smith.
"The Department of Children and Family Services -- they also do an investigation. They will check this person's background to see if she has ever had charges before or any problem dealing with children," Smith said.
Kendrick's next appearance in court is set for March 29.