By Eric Stevick Herald Writer
EVERETT — The baby was 5 weeks old when her dire condition came to the attention of doctors in late September.
They, in turn, called police.
A medical report indicated the girl appeared starved when she was admitted to the hospital. Her ears and nose were raw and scabbed. A part of one ear had turned black and had dropped off, according to a search warrant.
A pediatrician with 23 years experience told an Everett detective that the girl was the most emaciated and “scariest baby I’ve ever seen.” The doctor noticed that the child sucked nonstop on her mother’s finger. Medical professionals said the baby exhibited behavioral patterns consistent with a desperately hungry child.
She weighed a little more than 5 pounds on Sept. 27 — a pound less than her Aug. 22 birth weight.
Doctors could not find an underlying medical condition that might explain the weight loss.
So far, police haven’t found an explanation, either.
“Allegations of crimes against children are taken seriously and we will continue to investigate,” Everett police officer Aaron Snell said. “At this point we are still gathering information.”
No arrests have been made.
The parents, 28 and 22, offered explanations of the baby’s low weight and mysterious injuries that have become the focus of question by doctors and police.
They told authorities that the baby liked to rub her nose and ears against the side of her bassinet, but doctors said that the injuries weren’t consistent with the developmental abilities of someone so young. Doctors said the injuries were most likely caused by pressure, not rubbing.
In a search warrant, the detective wrote: “I was aghast at the child’s appearance, and felt it unlikely the injuries to her ears could have been caused as explained by her parents.”
The baby was taken into protective custody and gained weight soon after arriving at the hospital.
Doctors specializing in investigating child abuse say the ear injuries could have been caused by clips being placed on the baby’s ears to keep a pacifier in place in her mouth.
One doctor reported being struck by the father’s behavior, saying he appeared to be disturbed by the medical monitoring alarms and the baby crying at the hospital. He said the father moved to a corner and covered his ears, saying something to the effect of, “Make it stop.”
The man has extensive domestic violence history in Washington and elsewhere, according to the search warrant.
Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; firstname.lastname@example.org.