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Man charged with child's death
Pueblo Chieftain - 10/11/2018
Oct. 11--A Pueblo man has been charged with child abuse resulting in death more than seven years after police say he violently shook the infant child of his former girlfriend, causing severe disabilities and health issues that led to the child's death in April 2017.
According to an arrest affidavit, 28-year-old Damien Ferris stands accused of shaking the 3-monthold child of his thengirlfriend in December 2010, causing a severe brain injury that the Weld County Coroner's
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Office -- which conducted the autopsy -- said caused long-term effects of sepsis and pneumonia that later caused the child's death.
The case was brought to the attention of the Pueblo Police Department on Dec. 30, 2010, after the child was admitted to a local hospital and found to have suffered a brain bleed consistent with that of a baby being shaken.
Pueblo PD conducted an investigation into the incident in the following days, interviewing Ferris, the child's mother, medical experts, social services professionals and numerous members of the child's mother's family.
Both Ferris and the child's mother spoke with police at the time, but did not volunteer any information as to how the child may have been injured, nor did they detail any instances of past abuse.
They each told police their version of the events that took place the night of Dec. 29, saying they had watched movies on Ferris' couch before going to sleep.
The victim's mother said she is typically a deep sleeper and stated Ferris had gotten up numerous times throughout the night to feed the baby as he commonly did, but said she had no reason to suspect any kind of abuse had occurred that night.
Neither Ferris nor the child's mother could recall for police any event that might have caused the child's severe injuries and maintained they had not harmed the infant.
During his interviews with police, the victim's grandfather expressed concerns about Ferris, saying he believed Ferris to have harmed his daughter and the infant on numerous past occasions, including an incident in which the infant suffered a broken arm in November 2010.
The November 2010 incident was considered by the family to have been accidental after Ferris said he tripped over a diaper bag while carrying the baby, but Ferris was the only person with the baby at the time and the grandfather speculated the injury was not accidental.
During the initial investigation, Ferris and the child's mother were classified as suspects, but due to their lack of cooperation and a lack of physical evidence, the arrest affidavit noted "the case was not deemed prosecutable due to not knowing who the perpetrator was or when the injury occurred."
The abuse case was then closed, but reopened more than seven years after the alleged abuse subsequent to the 6-year-old child's death and the coroner's determination that it was caused by the physical abuse the child suffered as an infant.
Once police reopened the investigation, they again contacted the victim's mother, who said she had stopped seeing Ferris immediately after her child's injury, ceasing all contact.
During interviews with police, the victim's mother once again recounted her version of events.
She told police Ferris never said he'd harmed the child, nor did she see him do so and said she initially could not believe that Ferris would have done anything to hurt her child.
However, after speaking with the medical professionals who treated and evaluated the infant, the mother said she came to the conclusion that what happened could not have been an accident.
She also speculated that the November 2010 incident in which her child's arm was broken was likely not an accident either.
She further told police that Ferris had assaulted her numerous times throughout their 8-month relationship, including while she was pregnant.
She described Ferris' behavior during their relationship as "crazy" and "psycho," saying he had threatened to kill her numerous times and on more than one occasion, had pointed a handgun to her head.
Police were unable to contact Ferris after numerous attempts to reach him at addresses listed in Florence, as well as in Pueblo.
An arrest warrant was authored in September and Ferris was arrested Friday on charges of child abuse resulting in death.
He was being held Wednesday at the Pueblo County Detention Center in lieu of $200,000 bail. His first court appearance is scheduled for today. firstname.lastname@example.org
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