Police: 2-month-old baby suffered 13 rib fractures, parents arrested

COVINGTON, KY (FOX19) - Covington police arrested two parents on charges of child abuse Wednesday.

Police say Ashlee Hensley, 20, and Robert Rich Jr., 27, called 911 on March 15 to report that their 2-month-old son was having a seizure.

Police began an investigation into suspected child abuse and say they determined that the child was suffering from multiple injuries not consistent with what the baby's parents told police.

The child was transported from St. Elizabeth Hospital in Covington to Cincinnati Children's Hospital where police say he was treated for multiple injuries including 13 rib fractures, an orbital fracture to his left eye, severe retinal hemorrhaging, and a subdural hematoma.

"Obviously you're going to be concerned when you hear that a child of 2-months has 13 broken ribs over the course of time in stages of healing.  And the other injuries that we were presented with on this case," Lt. Col. Brian Steffen with the Covington Police Department said.

Rich and Hensley told police that the baby was dropped a few inches off the ground and that's how he was injured. The parents also told police that the injuries also might have happened during a car accident they had been in previously.

"Accidents happen," said the child's grandfather, Frank Hensley. "And my daughter even admitted she was passing her son to her oldest son sitting on the floor and he slipped under his hands and bobbed his head on the floor."

But Covington police say that's just one of several excuses they were given.

Police say they interviewed the baby's great-grandmother Molly Rich who helps care for the child. She told police that she noticed a knot above the baby's eye but Rich told her it was a broken blood vessel from crying.

The great-grandmother also told police that she believed the baby was in pain while she was caring for him and said that Rich had told her to give the baby NyQuil on a separate occasion.

Police obtained a search warrant for Hensley's phone and found that text messages from the week before between she and Rich had been deleted from the phone.

Hensley denied to police that she deleted those conversations.

Physicians with the Mayerson Center for Safe and Healthy Children at Children's Hospital diagnosed the baby's injuries as symptoms of child abuse.

Doctors told police that the 13 rib fractures were in various stages of healing, one of which was less than 10 days old.

The baby is expected to have developmental delays, doctors say, due to the subdural hematoma and other injuries he suffered.

Hensley and Rich are charged with criminal abuse of a child and assault. Both remain in the Kenton County Jail.

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