Couple charged with child abuse

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By Tris DeRoma

A Los Alamos couple was recently arrested and charged with allegedly abandoning or abusing their 10-week-old son.
The accused, Kayla Dick, 19, and Troy Stephenson, 27, were arrested Dec. 24 shortly after they took the baby in for a medical evaluation at the Los Alamos Medical Center.
They were both charged with one count each of abandonment or abuse of a child, a first-degree felony.
According to court documents, Dr. Michelle Whitford, the on-duty emergency room doctor at the time reported the couple to the police, notifying them the infant had sustained an injury that in her opinion, could only have happened through intentional abuse.
The parents took the baby to the emergency room because he seemed to be in a large amount of pain. Whitford examined the leg and found that (the baby) had a spiral fracture to his femur.
“Dr. Whitford stated that a spiral fracture to a femur would be the result of an extremely strong impact or torque, which could only be caused by abusing the child,” said a statement in the court document.
When questioned about the incident, both Dick and Stephenson accused the other. Dick told a child welfare official at the scene that she was staying with Stephenson and their baby at a nearby hotel while her house was getting worked on.
According to the report, Dick said she briefly left the hotel room on Dec. 22 to run an errand, and when she got back the baby was “crying inconsolably.” Stephenson told the same official that Dick had been experiencing depression and made comments about “hating the kids.”
According to the report, it was Dick’s mother who urged Dick to take the baby to the hospital, after the mother observed that the baby seemed to be in some sort of pain.
A further investigation at the University of New Mexico Hospital revealed further abuse.
A UNMH doctor in the report stated that not only did the baby have a broken femur, but they also found fractured ribs, healing rib fractures and a healing fractured finger.
“(The baby) is a very young male infant with injuries diagnostic of non-accidental trauma, said a Dr. Karen Campbell in a magistrate court warrant obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor. “In addition, he has skeletal injuries of different ages, indicating ongoing or chronic abuse.”
In light of her findings, Campbell recommended the baby be removed from the parent’s care until further notice.
“Should (the baby) be returned home without the perpetrator identified and removed, and without long-term services in place, (the baby) is at risk of more serious injury or death.”
The baby is presently being cared for by Dick’s mother, under the condition that Dick and Stephenson are barred from having contact with the baby.
Dick and Stephenson were later released on a $20,000 cash bond each.
The accused are due in Los Alamos Magistrate Court Jan. 16 for a status hearing.