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UPDATE: Trial Date Set in Forest Co. Infant Abuse Case

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email
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UPDATE: Tues 10:14 AM, April 15, 2014

Online court records show a trial date has been scheduled to begin in July for a 29-year-old Wabeno man accused of critically injuring a toddler.

Brandon Brunette is charged with attempted 1st degree intentional homicide, physical abuse of a child –intentionally causing great bodily harm, and child neglect resulting in great bodily harm.

Brunette remains in custody in the Forest County Jail on $100,000 cash bond.

The boy's mother is also charged in the case. Jennifer Shepard is charged with failing to prevent bodily harm to a child, child neglect resulting in great bodily harm, aiding a felon and obstructing an officer.

Shepard will return to later this month. That's when she's expected to find out if her case will head to trial.

Brunette's three day trial is expected to begin July 29.

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UPDATE: Tues 3:30 PM, Feb. 25, 2014

A 29-year-old Forest County man has pleaded not guilty to charges that he physically abused a toddler so severely the boy was left in a vegetative state.

Brandon Brunette is charged with attempted 1st degree intentional homicide, physical abuse of a child –intentionally causing great bodily harm, and child neglect resulting in great bodily harm.

According to court documents, Brunette initially said he accidentally dropped the boy from chest height, but later admitted to deputies the boy would not stop crying that's when he grabbed him by the leg and threw him 10-15 feet into a wall or tv stand.

Brunette's girlfriend, and the boy's mother, Jennifer Shepard is charged with failing to prevent bodily harm to a child, child neglect resulting in great bodily harm, aiding a felon and obstructing an officer.

According to court documents, Shepard reportedly sent text messages to Brunette, while the boy was being treated in the ICU at St. Joseph's in Marshfield informing Brunette of what she had told police.

According to the criminal complaint the text messages said, “as long as we keep our stories straight, we may be ok”; “I told him there were no drugs in the house, just so you know”; and “it doesn't look good for you”.

Brunette remains behind bars on a $100,000 cash bond. He'll return to court in May.

Shepard will return to court next month. That's when she's expected to find out if her case will head to trial.

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UPDATE: Fri 12:34 AM, Feb. 14, 2014

The family of a two-year-old Forest County boy who suffered severe brain damage after an alleged abuse incident is speaking out in hopes that they can prevent similar situations for other children.

Last October, Kolton suffered severe brain injuries after his mother's boyfriend allegedly threw him against a wall or TV stand when he would not stop crying. Now, he is in what his family describes as a persistent vegetative state. His family is trying to reflect on the good memories they have with him.

"Kolton was a very happy little boy. He loved being around family. He was just a normal, precious little boy." said Kolton's Great Aunt Christine Slagowski.

Rather than grieving in silence, the family has taken to Facebook to share Kolton's story. His Aunt Christine uses the "Prayers for Kolton" page as a way to update the public on his condition as well as a means for others to show support. The response has been overwhelming.

"Looking and seeing that other people are in our same situation and knowing that we are not alone is very helpful." says Christine.

While the Facebook page sends a message to the public about the seriousness of abuse, it more importantly sends a message to Kolton. His family wants him to know that no matter how much suffering he has endured, his family loves him unconditionally.

Click here to visit the 'Prayers for Kolton' Facebook page.

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UPDATE: Wed 1:45 PM, Feb. 12, 2014

A 25-year-old Wabeno woman accused covering up an alleged child abuse case has been ordered to have no contact with her boyfriend, who his the suspect in the case.

Jennifer Shepard was formally charged Wednesday in Forest County Circuit Court with failing to prevent bodily harm to a child, child neglect resulting in great bodily harm, aiding a felon and obstructing an officer.

Her boyfriend, Brandon Brunette, 29, is charged with attempted 1st degree intentional homicide, physical abuse of a child –intentionally causing great bodily harm, and child neglect resulting in great bodily harm. He remains behind bars on a $100,000 cash bond.

In October, Shepard's one-year-old son was transported to a Marshfield hospital for a suspected brain injury.

Brunette told investigators he accidentally dropped the boy from chest height. A doctor at St. Joseph's said the child's injuries were not consistent with a drop, and appeared to be abuse.

Brunette later admitted to deputies the boy would not stop crying that's when he grabbed him by the leg and threw him 10-15 feet into a wall or tv stand.

According to court documents, Shepard reportedly sent text messages to Brunette, while the boy was being treated in the ICU at St. Joseph's in Marshfield informing Brunette of what she had told police.

According to the criminal complaint the text messages said, “as long as we keep our stories straight, we may be ok”; “I told him there were no drugs in the house, just so you know”; and “it doesn't look good for you”.

Shepard will return to court next month to learn if her case will head to trial. She is also not allowed to see her son unless it is scheduled through child protective services.

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UPDATE: Wed 3:01 PM, Jan. 22, 2014

The Forest County District Attorney has now filed criminal charges against the mother of a one-year-old boy critically injured following allegations of child abuse. The incident reportedly happened October 18 at a Wabeno home.

According to court documents, Jennifer Shepard, 25, reportedly sent text messages to her boyfriend, Brandon Brunette, while the boy was being treated in the ICU at St. Joseph's in Marshfield informing Brunette of what she had told police.

According to the criminal complaint the text messages said, “as long as we keep our stories straight, we may be ok”; “I told him there were no drugs in the house, just so you know”; and “it doesn't look good for you”.

Brunette told investigators he went to the bathroom and heard the boy fall of the couch. He said he picked up the boy, and the child kicked him with his leg that was already in cast. Brunette said he lost his balance and dropped the child from a chest level height. The toddler had reportedly broken his leg weeks earlier after he fell down the steps.

Brunette said the boy cried but seemed fine and he put him to bed. Brunette said later the boy had vomit coming from his nose and was limp. That's when he called 911. Investigators say nearly five hours passed between the injuries and the call to 911.

The boy was transported to an Antigo hospital and then transferred to a Marshfield hospital after his injuries were determined to be life-threatening. According to the criminal complaint the boy began posturing-- involuntary extensions of the arms or legs; indicating a brain injury.

A doctor at St. Joseph's said the child's injuries were not consistent with a drop, and appeared to be abuse.

Brunette later admitted to deputies the boy would not stop crying that's when he grabbed him by the leg and threw him 10-15 feet into a wall or tv stand.

Brunette, 29, is charged with attempted 1st degree intentional homicide, physical abuse of a child –intentionally causing great bodily harm, and child neglect resulting in great bodily harm. He remains behind bars on a $100,000 cash bond.

Shepard is expected to be charged with failing to prevent bodily harm to a child, child neglect resulting in great bodily harm, aiding a felon and obstructing an officer. She's expected to appear in court Feb. 26.

The child's condition is unknown.

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UPDATE: Thurs 4:28 PM, Oct. 31, 2013

A 29-year-old Wabeno man accused of critically injuring his girlfriend's 19-month-old child has requested a new judge. Online court records indicate Shawano County Judge James Habeck has been assigned to the case.

Brandon Brunette is charged with attempted 1st degree homicide, physical abuse of a child, and child neglect resulting in great bodily harm.

Brunette told investigators he went to the bathroom and heard the boy fall of the couch. He said he picked up the boy, and the child kicked him with his leg that was already in cast. Brunette said he lost his balance and dropped the child from a chest level height.

The toddler had reportedly broken his leg weeks earlier after he fell down the steps.

Brunette said the boy cried but seemed fine and he put him to bed. Brunette said later the boy had vomit coming from his nose and was limp that's when he called 911.

The boy was transported to an Antigo hospital and then transferred to a Marshfield hospital after his injuries were determined to be life-threatening. According to the criminal complaint the boy began posturing-- involuntary extensions of the arms or legs; indicating a brain injury while at the hospital.

According to the criminal complaint, a cellphone seized by investigators allegedly belonging to the child's mother, had a recently sent message to the defendant saying, “as long as we keep our stories straight, we may be okay.”

During questioning with police the next day, Brunette said the boy did fall off the couch as previously stated and he did kick Brunette in the chest with his casted leg causing him to lose his balance and drop the boy. However, Brunette said the boy would not stop crying that's when he grabbed him by the leg and threw him 10-15 feet into a wall or tv stand.

Brunette remains behind bars on a $100,000 cash bond.

Due to Brunette's request for a new judge a future court date has not yet been set.

The child's condition is unknown.

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ORIGINAL STORY: Wed 12:05 PM, Oct. 30, 2013

A 29-year-old Wabeno man is expected to be charged with attempted 1st degree intentional homicide, physical abuse of a child –intentionally causing great bodily harm, and child neglect resulting in great bodily harm.

The Forest County Sheriff's Department said on October 18 they received a call reporting a 19-month-old child with a possible concussion.

The matter was investigated by the Forest County Sheriff’s Office and Brandon Brunette was arrested in connection with the incident.
Brunette is behind bars in the Forest County Jail on a $100,000 cash bond.


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