By Clair McFarland, General Assignment Reporter
After hospital scans revealed broken bones and bruises on his 24-day-old twin daughters, a Riverton man has been charged with two counts of felony child abuse.
Anthony Michael Long, 27, faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on both charges.
Baby Had Broken Leg, Bruising
According to an evidentiary affidavit filed last week in Riverton Circuit Court, police got involved after the mother of 24-day-old twin girls took one of the girls to the emergency room. Hospital staff discovered that the baby girl had a broken leg, bruising and other injuries. The affidavit indicates these were “possibly due to abuse.”
Riverton Police Department Officer Bhagya Nethicumara was called to the scene.
Authorities soon learned that the baby girl has a twin sister. They asked the mom to get the twin sister to the hospital as well. When the mom tried to get Long, who is her fiancé and the twins’ father, to bring the second twin to the hospital, Long procrastinated, according to the affidavit.
The twins’ maternal grandmother eventually brought the second infant girl to the hospital. The second twin also had broken bones, bruising and other injuries, the affidavit says.
Limp And Swollen
Nethicumara spoke with the twins’ mom, who said she and Long take turns changing and feeding the babies so they both get time with them.
Long changed and fed the first twin on the morning of Nov. 21. By midday when the mom changed and fed that infant, the mom discovered that the girl’s leg was limp and swollen, the affidavit says.
The mom took the girl to the emergency room as a result.
The second baby had a black eye, which the baby’s mom said Long blamed on an accidental head-butting that happened while he was trying to burp the baby, according to the affidavit.
The affidavit says that baby also had a recent cut on her right foot, which Long said was caused when her foot “got caught” in his hand and his nail cut her.
A bruise on the first baby’s face Long reportedly attributed to the family cat jumping onto the couch and causing the boppy (baby seat) to hit the baby’s face, the affidavit relates.
The mom told police that Long is a first-time dad and she has to remind him “constantly” to be gentle with the babies, but she does not believe he would intentionally hurt the children.
At the hospital, the mom told police that she had not seen emotions from Long that evening.
Broken Blood Vessel
Nethicumara also questioned the babies’ maternal grandmother, who babysits the twins once or twice a week.
The grandmother said she saw the second twin’s black eye Nov. 17, and when Long described the “head-butting” account, the grandmother grew concerned. There was a broken blood vessel inside the baby’s eye due to the impact, the grandmother told police.
The grandmother said she brought her concerns to the mom’s attention.
When Nethicumara talked to Long, he denied having anything to do with the injuries and said he doesn’t believe the babies’ mom is responsible for the injuries.
When asked who else has access to the children, Long named their grandmother’s boyfriend.
“But Long also admitted that no one had access to the children within the last 48 hours except himself” and their mom, the affidavit says.
Long said that if he’d had anything to do with his daughters’ injuries, he would not have come to the hospital.
He said he believes he and the babies’ mom may swaddle the twins too tightly, or they injured the babies when they lifted their legs up to clean their bottoms, the affidavit states.
Long said the infants could have been injured while being taken care of, but said those injuries didn’t happen out of frustration, impatience, violence or intentional physical harm, the affidavit relates.