An 18-year-old mother is in jail after police say she allowed friends to repeatedly hit her baby while “play-wrestling.”
Authorities say the 18-month-old baby is in critical condition with five rib fractures; lacerations to his liver, spleen and pancreas; and bruises to his chest, back and abdomen. Doctors also discovered an old skull fracture that had healed.
North Charleston police charged Shakera Wright, 18, of Charleston and Tyrek D. Varnes, 16, of North Charleston with infliction or allowing infliction of great bodily injury to a child. Each face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, if convicted, authorities said.
Varnes is being charged as an adult after police say he and two friends struck the child at his family’s Ashley Shores apartment at 3811 Dame Court.
The friends, ages 14 and 15, are charged as juveniles. Their names have not been released.
According to an incident report, here is what happened:
Police were called to Medical University Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit at 5:40 p.m. Tuesday in response to a report of child abuse. A police officer met with a doctor, social worker and Department of Social Services representative and was told that it appeared the child’s injuries were sustained from blows to the back, chest and abdomen. The skull fracture appeared to be an older injury.
Wright told the social worker and DSS representative that she was Varnes’ apartment on Monday night when he and his friends play-wrestled with the child. She said the friends boxed with the child until she told them to stop hitting her baby and picked him up.
The victim’s grandmother told police she didn’t know how the baby was injured and that he might have fallen.
Wright didn’t notice anything was wrong until Tuesday morning when he woke up and was not playful. His eyes had rolled back. She took him to the hospital on the advice of the baby’s father, who was not at the home at the time of the alleged abuse.
Wright appeared at a bail hearing Wednesday night. Varnes is expected to appear some time today.
The younger two defendants are in the custody of the S.C. Department of Juvenile Justice.
The baby is in DSS custody.