Baby’s mother: Dad loves girl he’s accused of abusing
BY JANET LUNDQUIST email@example.com October 2, 2013 3:46PM
Carl R. Blankenship | Photo courtesy of Will County Sheriff's office
Updated: November 4, 2013 12:11PM
The father of a then-3-month-old girl who suffered head trauma so severe it has left her unable to see told investigators the baby’s injury likely was caused by a rambunctious sibling.
A doctor said it was child abuse, prosecutors said.
Authorities agreed with the doctor, and in 2011 charged the girl’s father, Carl R. Blankenship, 31, of Crest Hill, with aggravated battery to a child.
Blankenship’s trial began Tuesday in Will County.
Police and paramedics were called about 10 p.m. June 2, 2011, to a home in the 1400 block of Pioneer Road in Crest Hill when the then-3-month-old girl was unresponsive, authorities said.
Blankenship, who had been watching the baby alone, told police he fed the baby, burped her, then laid her in her bassinet while he used the rest room. When he returned, the baby looked like she was gasping for air, he told police.
Blankenship called his wife, then called 911, according to police. A police officer performed CPR until paramedics arrived, and the child was hospitalized in critical condition, authorities said.
The girl, now 2 years old, cannot walk or communicate, her mother, Victoria Blankenship, testified Tuesday. The girl is legally blind, seeing only shadows and light or darkness. She is fed through a tube in her stomach, Victoria Blankenship said.
Carl Blankenship had watched the baby alone for two hours the day the baby was hurt, Victoria Blankenship said.
At the hospital, he told investigators bruises on the girl’s head may have been caused by him accidentally dropping his cellphone on her head, or by a sibling who threw a ball and a doll, both of which hit the baby’s head.
When an investigator from the Department of Children and Family Services told Carl Blankenship he didn’t believe he was telling the truth, Carl Blankenship told him the baby’s sibling fell on the baby’s head knee-first while jumping on a bed the baby was lying on, said the investigator, Maurice Johnson, who testified Wednesday.
Victoria Blankenship said she noticed the bruising after she returned to work after a six-week maternity leave.
Despite the charge against Carl Blankenship, Victoria Blankenship said she believes Carl Blankenship loves his daughter. She testified that she never saw him raise his hand to her or their daughters, nor did he raise his voice.
He also tattooed their names on his body, she said.
Carl Blankenship is an introverted, quiet man, she said, and she said she believes he loves his two daughters and was taking care of them the best way he knew how.
Carl Blankenship is being held at the Will County Jail on $500,000 bail, records show. The trial is scheduled to continue Thursday.