Father accused of neglect, battery: Police say 8-week-old baby sustained skull fracture, brain bruise

A 21-year-old man has been charged with neglect and battery resulting in serious bodily injury after his infant son sustained a skull fracture and brain bruise in September.


Ryann S. Clark of South Shore Drive has been charged with two Level 3 felonies. He was booked into jail March 9 and held on $30,000 bond.

A police report says that the baby, now 8 months old, is experiencing some developmental delays which may have been caused by the injury, the baby’s mother told police.

Clark and his mother had been caring for the baby, then 8 weeks old, between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, according to a probable cause affidavit by Brown County Sheriff’s Deputy Brian Shrader.

A Department of Child Services caseworker contacted local police Sept. 2 to request an investigation into how the baby sustained a fractured skull and a brain bruise on his right side.

Clark told Shrader and the caseworker that he had worked all day Sept. 1; his mother was watching the baby during that time. Clark said he took the baby from her at around 10 p.m., the police report says.

The next morning Clark said he noticed a “funny bump” on the baby’s head. He told his mother nothing had happened.

His mother made a doctor’s appointment for the baby that afternoon. Clark said the baby’s doctor was not concerned based on the information provided at the time, the affidavit said.

Clark went to work for half a day before returning home to take the baby to the doctor, where they were informed the baby had a skull fracture, the report said.

The baby was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children.

At the time, Clark said the reason behind the fracture could be because he tripped over a dog while walking with the baby in his arms in his bedroom. As he was falling, Clark said he threw the baby on the bed so he wouldn’t fall on the floor, the report said.

At first, Clark said the baby landed on the bed but later said the baby had landed in the crevice between the head of the bed and the wall, the affidavit said.

When asked if the baby had cried, Clark said, “No, not really,” and he put the baby in the bassinet, Shrader reported.

Shrader said it takes more force to cause a skull fracture than what Clark had described.

Clark also told the officer that he had hit the baby’s head on the door frame as he was walking out of his bedroom Aug. 31.

Clark’s mother told police she wasn’t concerned about the bump because the swelling had gone down throughout the day. She said the only thing Clark would tell her was that he dropped the baby on the bed after he tripped over the dog.

Several physicians reported to DCS that they were concerned these were “non-accidental injuries,” the affidavit said.

Shrader asked Clark again Sept. 7 to take a polygraph test and he refused without first speaking to his mom and his attorney, the report said.

On Feb. 21, Shrader followed up with the baby’s mother and maternal grandmother because they had told DCS that Clark told them three different reasons behind the baby’s injuries, the report said.

Charges were filed Feb. 27.

A warrant was filed for Clark’s arrest on March 6. He appeared for his initial hearing via videoconference from the Brown County jail March 9 and pleaded not guilty.

Public defender Daniel Reuter was appointed to represent him; a tentative trial date was set for June 7.

Judge Judith Stewart granted a no-contact order for the infant.

The advisory sentencing range for conviction on a Level 3 felony is three to 16 years in prison.

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Suzannah Couch grew up in Brown County, reading the Brown County Democrat. A 2013 Franklin College graduate, she covers business, cops/courts, education and arts/entertainment.