COCOA, Fla. – The mother and father of a 2-month-old child are now facing charges of attempted murder and aggravated child abuse after an investigation into the child's injuries prompted medical personnel to call for police response.
Authorities say Stephanie Marie Hylard, 26, and Dexter Williams, 27, are currently being held in the Brevard County Jail.
The couple were arrested late Wednesday after patrol officers responded to a call from Rockledge Regional Medical Center.
Officials say, a 2-month-old child was checked into the emergency room for broken ribs and having seizures.
"The baby had multiple fractures in her ribs, legs, and skull. She also suffered from bleeding in the brain. The infant also had visible bruises on her forehead. She was conscious, but appeared lethargic and weak," Cocoa Police said in a news release.
The child was taken to another hospital for specialized treatment for her injuries.
Detectives began to investigate what caused the child's serious injuries.
When detectives spoke with Williams, he told officials that he thought the child was sick and that the child was taken to the doctor because her eyes were moving weirdly and vibrating.
After interviews with the parents, detectives learned that Williams had struck and shaken the baby.
Investigators were told that, when the child cried, Williams would punch the child with a closed fist. Investigators pinpointed the bruising and found it consistent with where Williams allegedly punched the child.
Williams told investigators that he agreed to put make up on the baby to cover the bruises before he and Hylard went to the doctor.
Authorities were also told that the pair got into an argument and Hylard took the baby into a bedroom where the child began to cry. Williams said he went into the bedroom grabbed the baby by the torso, Hylard had the baby's legs and a tug of war began.
"The investigation revealed that both Williams and Hylard were responsible for the baby’s injuries and neither parent sought medical attention for at least five days. According to the witnesses, Williams punched the child with a closed fist when she cried. The witnesses also described him violently shaking her," the news release said.
According to authorities, the investigation revealed that both parents had a role in the abuse.
“Mr. Williams and Ms. Hylard knowingly and willfully abused the infant. They tried to hide the abuse by using makeup to cover the bruises,” said Detective Julio Gomez. “Based on the severity of the injuries and the clearly visible nature, the parents should have known that this could have resulted in the infant’s death, yet they failed to seek medical attention. They had no sense of urgency.”
The couple have two other children, each from a previous relationship. All of the children are now under the care of the Department of Children and Family Services.
Williams was charged with attempted murder and aggravated child abuse.
Hylard and Williams are currently being held without bail.