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‘One of the worst cases of abuse I have ever seen’: Ohio parents arrested after infant sustained broken arm, leg, ribs, and brain bleed

Devin M. Mims and Sondra Vanwhy (Erie County Jail)

Devin M. Mims and Sondra Vanwhy (Erie County Jail)

A 24-year-old man and 19-year-old woman in Ohio have been arrested after police say they subjected their 4-month-old daughter to horrific abuse, leaving the child with multiple broken bones and brain bleeds. Devin M. Mims and Sondra Vanwhy were taken into custody on Friday and charged in connection with the alleged abuse, records reviewed by Law&Crime show.

Mims is facing one count of felony assault on a child and two counts of child endangerment while Vanwhy is facing one count of child endangerment.

“She suffered four broken ribs, a broken arm, a broken leg, she has two brain bleeds, she has trouble with her vision now,” Sandusky Police Chief Jared Oliver said of the baby’s alleged injuries, according to Cleveland Fox affiliate WJW. “She is suffering from seizures.  This is one of the worst cases of abuse I have ever seen.”

A detective with the Sandusky Police Department on Feb. 8 responded to a call regarding a young baby with suspicious injuries who had been brought to Firelands Regional Medical Center, according to a police report obtained by the Sandusky Register. The child had reportedly sustained several cracked ribs, a broken leg, a broken wrist, and two bilateral subdural hematomas that medical personnel said were consistent with child abuse.

Due to the severity of the baby’s injuries, doctors decided to have the child transported to a hospital in Cleveland that specializes in pediatric care.

After arriving at the facility, the admitting doctor noted in the baby’s medical records that her injuries appeared to be caused by “non-accidental trauma,” the Register reported. Her injuries reportedly included “chronic feeding disorder, oral aversion, seizure-like activity, multiple rib fractures, a leg fracture, a wrist fracture and the subdural hematomas.”

In an interview with investigators, Vanwhy reportedly said the reason they brought the infant to the hospital was because the baby started choking while eating, stopped breathing for approximately 10 seconds, then went completely limp. When the child came to, Vanwhy reportedly said that she would not stop crying.

Both parents reportedly said they did not know how the infant could have sustained such extensive injuries, with Mims allegedly saying that he may have gotten a little “rough” when tickling the baby. Investigators countered by pointing out that tickling does not produce multiple fractured ribs.

Mims then reportedly said that he remembered accidentally dropping the child when she was in her baby rocker.

Mims and Vanwhy both confirmed that their daughter does not go to a babysitter and one of them is always in charge of watching her, the Register reported.

“The injuries to that child, it was pure torture for that little baby for months,” Sandusky Police Detective Carissa Cruz told WJW.

The baby girl has since been taken from the care of Mims and Vanwhy and placed in the custody of Erie County Children Services.

Mims and Vanwhy are currently being held in the Erie County Jail on $80,000 and $20,000 bonds, respectively, jail records show.

The Sandusky Police Department did not immediately respond to multiple messages from Law&Crime regarding the case.

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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.