The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

August 1, 2012

Mother’s boyfriend has outstanding warrant in stolen-property case

JOPLIN, Mo. — The suspect taken into custody for suspected abuse of a 1-year-old girl in a mobile home park near Joplin has an outstanding warrant for an alleged stolen-property offense in Arkansas.

Newton County Sheriff Ken Copeland said Bryant L. Sykes Jr., 24, was taken into custody this morning after briefly hiding in some woods near the BYKOTA Mobile Home Park on East 32nd Street, or Route FF, on the southeast side of Joplin.

Sykes had fled the residence where he was staying with the girl’s mother and her two other children prior to the arrival of emergency medical technicians and sheriff’s deputies about 9 p.m. Tuesday. The child was discovered not breathing and in cardiac arrest inside the home, the sheriff said.

The child was taken to Freeman Hospital West once EMTs were able to resuscitate her, according to Copeland. Doctors there told child-abuse investigators that the girl was suffering from bleeding on both sides of her brain and had lacerations to her liver and spleen.

She was flown to Children’s Hospital in Kansas City, where she remains in critical condition.

Deputies were called back to the mobile home park about 9 a.m. today when Sykes returned to the residence. Copeland said the suspect fled again into the woods but surrendered to deputies less than two hours later.

Charges have yet to be filed. Copeland said Sykes is being held on a warrant issued in Arkansas for an alleged stolen-property offense. The sheriff said he did not know the details in that case.

Copeland said two other children, ages 3 and 2, have been removed from the home and taken into state protective custody while the case remains under investigation. He said Sykes, who is the mother’s boyfriend, had been staying with them off and on in recent weeks. He said the mother left the children in his care briefly Tuesday night to go to a store.

“When she returned about 15 minutes later, he was in a panic and screaming that the baby was not breathing,” Copeland said. “He advised her then that he had set the baby on the kitchen table and apparently she had rolled off the table.”

The sheriff said doctors and investigators do not believe such a fall would account for the child’s injuries. He said the girl had learned to crawl but was not yet walking.

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