Tomahawk father charged with newborn's death

Published: Nov. 2, 2016 at 8:16 AM CDT
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A 20-year-old Tomahawk man has been charged with first degree reckless homicide and child abuse after his 23 day old son died.

Henry Hughes was formally charged Wednesday in Lincoln County Circuit Court. Judge Jay Tlusty set Hughes' bond at $50,000 cash.

According to an online obituary, River Hughes died Sept. 18.

In a press release, Police Chief Al Elvins said his department is in the process of concluding an investigation into the infant's death.

Elvins says the case has been difficult for the department.

"It's not natural to investigate the death of a 23 day old. It's not something that you want to go to. Not that any death is something you want to go to, but it's more so with a child."

According to court documents, an investigation began when the child was 9-days-old. Henry Hughes told investigators River began coughing then turned blue and that's when he performed CPR and the child was taken to the hospital. Doctors stated the newborn had injuries to his ribs, ankle and a brain bleed.

Doctors said his injuries were consistent with "severe high velocity injury" and the newborn was in severe condition and was in a coma.

Hughes denied shaking the baby and said the injuries likely occurred during CPR.

Another child living in the home was examined during the investigation and found to have fractures to its forearm, rib, and foot. Court documents did not specify who was to blame for the injuries.

This type of case is new Assistant District Attorney Kurt Zengler.

"This is extremely rare for Lincoln County. This is the first case I've had of it in 26 years I've been a prosecutor," Zengler said.

Hughes did not have an attorney at Wednesday hearing. A judge has given him until Nov. 4 to obtain one.

If convicted, Hughes faces up to 75 years in prison.