The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 25, 2012

Shaken-baby case leads to arrest of Joplin man

Infant flown to Kansas City with life-threatening injury

By Jeff Lehr

— Courtney J. Lindsey could not get girlfriend Amber Pittsley’s baby to stop crying.

The 20-year-old Joplin man later told police that he tried to bottle-feed 7-month-old Adriana Bowers, but she just kept screaming and getting more agitated.

Finally, he’d had enough, and he grabbed her with both hands and shook her in a desperate, exasperated effort to quiet her. He shook the infant until she threw up and lapsed into unresponsiveness, he told police.

Then, becoming concerned about what he had done, he called for an ambulance at 8:39 a.m. Tuesday. The girl was rushed from their home at 1606 S. Kentucky Ave. to Freeman Hospital West, where a doctor confirmed that she had suffered a life-threatening brain bleed.

The girl was flown to Children’s Mercy Hospitals and Clinics in Kansas City, where she was listed as being in stable condition Wednesday.

Lindsey, who was taken into custody before the end of the day on Tuesday, was charged about noon Wednesday with first-degree assault.

Police said Lindsey is not the girl’s father, but he has been living with her mother at the address on Kentucky Avenue. A probable-cause affidavit filed with the assault charge states that he was the lone adult present in the home when the baby was injured. Police have not said where the mother was at the time, and the Globe was unable to reach her for comment on Wednesday.

According to both the affidavit and a news release from the Joplin Police Department, the treating physician at Freeman told investigators that the girl suffered a subdural hematoma that appeared to be the result of “non-accidental trauma” that was consistent with having been shaken. The doctor also termed the injury life-threatening, according to the affidavit.

The affidavit indicates that Lindsey provided police with an account of how he shook the baby. The document states that he termed the manner in which he shook her as “hard,” and said she then vomited and turned unresponsive.

The case marks the second reported shaken-baby incident in Joplin this year.

Samantha L. Dechert, 23, was arrested in February and charged with first-degree assault after an investigation of an injury to her 3-month-old son, William E. Bustamante. Dechert took the boy to Freeman Hospital West on Feb. 14 for reported seizures but left against medical advice before seeing a physician.

The baby was taken the next day to Mercy Hospital Joplin and was flown to Cox Medical Center South in Springfield with what doctors diagnosed as a brain bleed. The mother initially said that she had fallen while carrying the boy, but she later admitted to a Joplin police detective that she had shaken him, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court.

Bond amounts

COURTNEY LINDSEY remained in custody Wednesday night at the Jasper County Jail in Carthage on a $25,000 surety bond and a $5,000 cash bond. He also was being held on a warrant for failure to appear in court on a previous felony count of tampering with a motor vehicle.