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Mother of baby in medically induced coma charged with child neglect

2-month-old suffers skull fracture, bleeding brain

Chelsea Ward and William Pickett
Chelsea Ward and William Pickett

ORLANDO, Fla. – The mother of a 2-month-old boy who had to be put in a medically induced coma because of his extensive injuries has been charged with aggravated child neglect, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies said Chelsea Ward, 26, did not seek medical care for her son when she first noticed his injuries. She was arrested Thursday.

The boy was taken to Arnold Palmer Hospital on March 8 with a skull fracture, bleeding in his brain, a broken leg, five broken ribs and bruises on his body, according to an arrest report. His injuries were in various stages of healing.

The injuries to the boy's head caused the infant to have seizures, prompting doctors to put him in a medically induced coma.

The boy's father, 29-year-old William Pickett, is also charged in connection with the boy's injuries. Pickett and Ward told investigators that Pickett was holding the baby when he tripped over a chair and they both fell, the report said.

The parents also said the boy's broken ribs could be from a gas-relieving technique Pickett sometimes uses, deputies said.

Doctors said those explanations didn't coincide with the severity of the boy's injuries, according to the report.

Deputies have not released information on how the boy was injured.

Ward told deputies that Pickett is very loving and would never harm their child. It's unclear if she knew that Pickett was convicted of manslaughter for killing his 1-month-old son, Damien Pickett, in 2007.

Pickett is charged with neglect of a child and child abuse. A judge set his bond at $10,000 during a court appearance on Friday and ordered that he have no contact with anyone younger than 18.

Ward and Pickett have both bonded out of the Orange County Jail.


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