Northfield man accused of abusing newborn - Northfield MN: Local

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Northfield man accused of abusing newborn

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Posted: Monday, December 16, 2013 11:46 am | Updated: 5:14 pm, Tue Dec 24, 2013.

A four-week-old baby is in the intensive care unit of a metro hospital with suspected brain damage after police say her father abused her until she fell unconscious and stopped breathing.

Theodore Cornelius Berg, 26, of Northfield, faces multiple assault charges after acknowledging to police that he became frustrated when the baby would not quit fussing, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in Rice County District Court.

Berg and the baby’s mother brought the infant to a local emergency room on Dec. 10 with no heartbeat and not breathing. Local doctors could not resuscitate the baby, so it was flown to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. It was there, according to the complaint, that medical staff determined that the infant had sustained severe head trauma, three rib and a foot fracture, a detached retina and retinal hemorrhage and multiple bruises on her back, feet, ankle and face.

When police first spoke with both parents, they indicated the baby was fussy but fine on Dec. 10. The baby woke Berg up about 9 p.m. that night and he could tell something was wrong, he told police, according to the complaint, so they rushed the child to hospital.

Police interviewed Berg a second time on Dec. 12, and at that point he told police he believed he caused the injuries because he was frustrated and tired and the baby would not stop crying, according to the complaint.

Berg told police he put the baby down on the kitchen table more than once without supporting its head. He also changed the baby’s diaper, swaddled her and held her tightly to his chest. At this point, according to the complaint, Berg told police that was when he noticed the baby’s eyes were falling back in her head and that she was either not breathing or having a hard time breathing.

The baby’s mother told police that she had never seen Berg hurt the baby, but that she had seen him frustrated, according to the complaint.

Berg was charged with felony first degree and third degree assault. If convicted of the most serious charge, he faces a maximum of 20 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine.

Reach Managing Editor Jaci Smith at 333-3134, or follow her at @FDNJaciSmith

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