Crest Hill dad accused of beating baby: ‘I love my kids’
BY JANET LUNDQUIST email@example.com October 3, 2013 4:20PM
Carl R. Blankenship | Photo courtesy of Will County Sheriff's office
Updated: November 5, 2013 6:28AM
Carl Blankenship said he didn’t tell anyone that he accidentally dropped his infant daughter until months after she was hospitalized with a severe head injury.
He kept his mouth shut for about four months after his 3-month-old suffered a head injury that left her unable to see or eat, then told a detective that the girl slipped out of his arms after a bath the day she was first hospitalized.
Blankenship, 31, charged with aggravated battery to a child, gave his explanation for the delay as he testified Thursday at his trial in Will County.
“I didn’t want to lose my girls. I didn’t want them taken away from me,” Blankenship said, explaining he was afraid police would not believe him and would take custody of his two daughters.
“At the time, I was just overwhelmed by everything,” he said.
Blankenship was arrested in October 2011 — four months after the June 2, 2011 incident — and has been in jail in lieu of $500,000 bail.
“I love my kids,” he said, adding that “it’s been hell” being away from them.
The baby cried for a short time after she slipped from his arms, then stopped crying and appeared to be OK, Blankenship said.
Several hours later, however, Blankenship called police and paramedics to his apartment in the 1400 block of Pioneer Road in Crest Hill when the then-3-month-old girl was unresponsive, authorities said.
Blankenship, who had worked an overnight shift and had little sleep, had been watching the baby alone that evening. He 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.
“I wouldn’t say (I was) lying, I just didn’t tell them exactly what happened,” Blankenship testified.
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.
Blankenship said other incidents he mentioned to investigators — including accidentally dropping his cellphone on her head, and a sibling throwing a ball and a doll, both of which hit the baby’s head — also happened within weeks of her hospitalization.
When an investigator from the Department of Children and Family Services told Carl Blankenship that he didn’t believe he was telling the truth, Blankenship told him the baby’s sibling bumped the baby’s head with her knee while jumping on a bed the baby was lying on the same day he said he dropped the baby.
Closing arguments are scheduled for Friday.