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Indiana dad arrested for allegedly biting ‘ungrateful’ newborn after nurses overheard him call baby ‘evil’

Gavan Rogers (Boone County Sheriff's Office)

Gavan Rogers (Boone County Sheriff’s Office)

A 24-year-old father in Indiana has been arrested for allegedly biting his newborn daughter multiple times, leaving “mouth-shaped bruises” and teeth marks all over the infant’s body.

Gavan Rogers was taken into custody on Tuesday and charged with one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in bodily injury and one count of domestic battery with bodily injury to a person under 14, both felonies, court records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

Rogers and the baby’s mother brought their 2-week-old daughter to Witham Hospital in Lebanon on Nov. 3 for a regularly scheduled checkup, according to a probable cause affidavit obtained by Law&Crime. Shortly after arriving at the facility, hospital staffers told authorities they discovered suspicious bruising on the baby’s forearms, stomach, shoulders, knee, and leg.

The staff transferred the infant to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis and contacted the Whitestown Police Department.

Whitestown is located about 20 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

A doctor at the children’s hospital reported that the little girl appeared to have multiple bruises, several of which included visible teeth marks.

Upon arriving at the children’s hospital, the detective learned that after the baby’s birth at Witham Hospital, several nurses filed disturbing reports saying they overheard Rogers “making aggressive and offensive comments about his daughter, to his daughter,” the affidavit states. Such comments allegedly included Rogers referring to the baby as “evil,” and calling her a “little b—-” and “ungrateful” when the child was in the neonatal intensive care unit.

A few days later, the same nurse again allegedly witnessed an alarming interaction between Rogers and his baby, writing that she saw a “distinct difference” in the child’s behavior when being handled by Rogers as opposed to the baby’s mother.

“Another time in the room, [Rogers] had the baby completely undressed and laying in his lap. The baby was physically cold and crying while he watched and recorded videos of her crying,” the affidavit states. “I am not comfortable sending this baby home to the care of [father of the baby].”

The Witham nursing staff also noted that Rogers seemed to get especially frustrated when his daughter cried and took extra time to explain the danger posed by shaking the baby.

In an interview with a Whitestown police detective, Rogers said he had been staying with the baby and her mother in Whitestown for the last two weeks, but normally lives with his parents in Greencastle, located about 50 miles southwest of Whitestown.

When asked about his daughter’s injuries, Rogers told allegedly hospital workers that he likely “open-mouth kissed” or “play bit” the infant with too much force. He later told the detective that he must have “nibbled too hard” on the child when she was fully clothed.

The detective on the scene wrote that he counted what appeared to be “at least six” bite marks on the newborn.

“These injuries could only have been inflicted while using excessive force, which would have caused severe pain to the [victim],” the affidavit states.

Rogers is scheduled to appear before Boone County Judge Lori N. Schein for his initial hearing on Friday, court records show.

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.