GREENFIELD — A McCordsville woman accused of striking a child so hard it left a bruise on the toddler’s face appeared in court this week and pleaded not guilty to battery.
Samantha Byrkett, 22, 7765 W. County Road 600N, faces a single felony count of domestic battery, records show.
Police say Byrkett admitted she slapped the toddler, who had been left in her care, out of frustration because he was making a mess in her home, according to charging documents.
Representatives of the Indiana Department of Child Services came to Byrkett’s home in late November after an anonymous caller contacted them to report possible child abuse, records show.
The slap left a red mark like a handprint on the child’s face and prompted investigators to ask that the child be checked by doctors at local hospital as a precaution, court documents state.
Byrkett faces a Level 5 felony count of domestic battery, which carries a maximum penalty of six years in prison.
The caller told investigators a child Brykett helped care for had bruises on his head, according to court documents. The caller told investigators that Byrkett was giving conflicting stories about what might have happened to the boy, records show.
When police arrived to investigate, they observed red marks and swelling near the child’s temple, according to court documents. The Indiana Department of Child Services case manager who was assigned to the investigation asked that the baby be taken to Hancock Regional Hospital. Doctors there found no serious injuries, officials said.
During an interview with police, Byrkett at first denied hurting the child. She told a detective he suffered the injury to his head after he fell while in his crib, according to court documents.
Byrkett later changed her story and admitted to the detective that she struck the boy, according to charging documents.
Byrkett told the officer she got upset with the child because he was pouring food onto the kitchen floor, court documents state. She said she did not intend to hurt the child, court documents state.
Investigators said Byrkett expressed remorse for what happened during the interview at the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department and stated she wanted help to manage her anger, court documents state.
After criminal charges were filed against Byrkett, she was arrested, held briefly in the Hancock County Jail before being released on $1,000 cash bond. She was ordered to appear in Hancock County Superior Court 1 Wednesday, where she pleaded not guilty to the felony count she faces, officials said.
Don Hamilton of Fortville was appointed to serve as Byrkett’s public defender, records show. Hamilton did not return a call for comment.
Byrkett is expected back in court March 15, records show.