EVERETT — An Everett man allegedly said he panicked when he threw his weeks-old daughter onto the bed, causing her to land in a way that resulted in a brain bleed.
She wouldn’t stop crying, he reportedly told an Everett detective. He said he’s been told he needs to take anger management classes.
Shane Cowherd, 33, was charged on Aug. 17 in Snohomish County Superior Court with second-degree assault of a child.
The incident reportedly took place two years ago at his home in Everett. When he first brought her into Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, he initially claimed to health care staff he fell on her, according to charging papers.
A forensic nurse examiner told an Everett officer the injuries, including a deep purple mark on her chest and red lines on the side of her body, were not consistent with a fall.
Cowherd told the officer the same story he told health care staff. He reported that he noticed his daughter had a wet diaper, but that she kept crying even after he changed it. He noticed her mouth was bleeding when he tried giving her a bottle — he suggested it was because the water was rusty after the faucets were replaced in his apartment.
After he saw the bleeding, he reported he quickly picked the girl up and ran to the bathroom. He tripped and fell on her, he told the officer.
Cowherd reported he blacked out. When he woke up, the girl was shrieking. He saw her eyes roll into the back of her head. He called 911.
Cowherd said he didn’t know how the mark had gotten onto the girl’s chest, but that it wasn’t there before the fall.
The girl’s mother said she was working at the time.
A detective followed up. A doctor told her that Cowherd’s version of events probably wouldn’t have led to the brain bleed that the girl was suffering from. The doctor also was concerned about the other bruising.
When the detective questioned whether Cowherd was telling the truth, he changed his story. “I panicked,” he allegedly said. “She wouldn’t stop crying so I tossed her on the bed.”
He said he was frustrated, according to charging papers, and tried everything to get the girl to stop crying. But he wasn’t going to shake her, he reportedly said.
Cowherd reported that when he threw her, the girl landed on her stomach in a way that her head was not supported, and she immediately stopped crying. He told the detective that he turned her over and she wasn’t responsive.
Eventually, she started crying again.
Cowherd also allegedly admitted to causing the injury to the girl’s chest with his thumb. He allegedly said he didn’t tell the truth because he was scared of losing everything.
Since then, the girl has had her name changed and put in the care of a different guardian.
Last August, the detective followed up with the girl’s foster mother. According to her, the girl has been having trouble sleeping and nursing, and wasn’t acting like a neurologically normal infant. The girl “was very sensitive to light, movement, and sound and at times would not make eye contact,” prosecutors wrote. “She also suffered from delayed motor skills and was in private therapy for feeding issues.”
The doctor who had initially examined the baby girl said the type of brain bleed the girl suffered could be life threatening, and that most infants who suffer them have some degree of permanent brain injury. Sometimes the effects aren’t apparent until the child reaches school age, the doctor reported. Likely, the girl won’t be same child as she would have been prior to the injury.
Cowherd is set to be arraigned on Wednesday.