FORSYTH — A Hollister couple is in jail relating to accusations of abuse against their two-month-old child, including the father swinging the child by his legs until his head hit a piece of furniture.
According to a police report from the Taney County Sheriff’s Office, the child’s father, Bryan Joseph Matlock, 28, is accused of injuring the infant several times; and the mother, Alexa Renee Smith, 21, is accused of endangering the child after leaving him in the care of Matlock.
The report states police received a call from Matlock Aug. 26 that the boy was having difficulty breathing and was unresponsive. Matlock reportedly told police he had tripped and fallen on the child, causing the injuries.
According to the report, the boy was taken to Cox Medical Center Branson, but it was determined his injuries were serious enough that he was transported to CoxSouth hospital in Springfield. The report states that two separate physicians concluded the child’s injuries were not accidental. A physician’s report stated the injuries were not consistent with Matlock’s story. The child’s injuries include a subdural and subarachnoid hemorrhage, a partially healed posterior left-side rib fracture, multiple contusions and a possible bite mark on the boy’s arm.
After being given his Miranda rights, Matlock said that on Aug. 26, he was watching the boy while Smith was away at work. He told police he:
• hit the child in the face with a pillow multiple times.
• held the child upside down by his legs and swung him, causing him to hit his head on the wooden portion of a couch
• bit the child on his arm to cause him pain
• squeezed him very hard against his chest for about two or three minutes attempting to get him to be quiet
• squeezed him hard enough to cause bruising to his lower stomach area
• threw the child on the couch forcefully four or five times
According to the report, Matlock also told police he had hurt the child in the past and that his wife had caught him pinching the child to cause pain, and squeezing the child hard enough that he “heard something pop.” Matlock told police he believed that is when the fractured rib happened.
The report also states Matlock told police he wishes to hurt people sometimes and gets mad at people for no reason. He also reportedly stated that he is a horrible person.
Smith told police Matlock watches the child on a regular basis while she is at work and that the child did not have any injuries before she left him in Matlock’s care when she went to work Aug. 26, according to the report.
Smith reportedly told police that in the last month she had witnessed Matlock pinch the child; squeeze him; and bite him in the ear, causing bruises. She also told police she told Matlock she would leave him if he didn’t stop, according to the report.
Matlock and Smith are each charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a child, a class C felony. Matlock is also charged with abuse or neglect of a child, a class B felony. Matlock’s bond is set at $100,000, and Smith’s is at $25,000.
They both had a court hearing scheduled on Sept. 1. Results were not available by Branson Tri-Lakes News press time.