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An Oakdale man accused of fracturing his 6-week-old baby’s skull — and numerous other bones — pleaded not guilty in Antelope County District Court on Wednesday morning.
Christofer Carstens, 21, has been charged with one count of felony child abuse-serious bodily injury, a class II felony, and could face up to 50 years in prison. He is being represented by a court-appointed attorney, Pat Carney.
After Carstens pleaded not guilty, Judge James Kube set his pretrial conference for August 28 at 9 a.m. His bond was continued at 10 percent of $500,000 and he was ordered to have no contact with two individuals, unless it was in a courtroom setting.
Carstens allegedly committed the crime after becoming frustrated when the baby wouldn’t stop crying, according to court records.
According to the arrest affidavit, he told the investigator that he “was tossing (the baby) in the air and her head hit the ceiling.”
“Christofer Carstens also advised that he became frustrated that (the baby) would not stop crying and was holding (the baby) with his hands underneath her arm pits and shook her,” the document said.
According to the affidavit, the Antelope County Sheriff’s Department received a 911 call from the baby’s grandfather, Stephen Barrington, at 708 5th St. in Oakdale on May 25. The report said Barrington told dispatchers that his 6-week-old granddaughter was having seizures.
She was taken by ambulance to Antelope Memorial Hospital where Dr. Kelli Osborn ordered X-rays, Sheriff Bob Moore’s report stated.
“Dr. Osborne advised that the baby had broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a broken arm (humerus) and a skull fracture with a serious brain bleed,” he wrote.
While waiting for Life Flight to arrive, the sheriff received differing stories from the parents and grandparents regarding their thoughts on how the injuries occurred, according to the affidavit. Moore stated that he placed the baby in emergency protective custody at that time.
Interviews of several individuals determined that the baby had no injuries or a swollen eye and was acting like a normal baby until the time the baby was given to Carstens at 6 p.m. on May 24, the document stated.
On May 25, several family members noted the baby’s swollen eye — which Carstens claimed was due to allergies — and witnessed apparent seizures, according to the report. Despite his arguments, Barrington called 911, Moore wrote. The infant was taken to AMH and later airlifted to Children's Hospital in Omaha.
The sheriff stated that his timeline was given to the Nebraska State Patrol and a state investigator conducted an interview of Carstens in Omaha.
The report stated that — on June 4 — Carstens advised the investigator that his action on May 24 “was the reason that caused her injuries.” He was arrested by Antelope County Sheriff’s Department that same day.
Due to the ongoing investigation of the case, the baby was placed in the custody of Nebraska Health and Human Services.