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Couple charged with neglect of 3-month-old

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GREENFIELD — A 3-month-old baby has gone blind as a result of child abuse police say was perpetrated by her parents.

The Greenfield couple, Michael Knott, 26, and Andie Suddarth, 23, were charged with felony neglect in the case filed Friday in Hancock Circuit Court.

The couple’s infant daughter suffered brain bleeding and retinal hemorrhaging during an incident in late March, and doctors discovered old injuries while examining her that suggested the abuse was ongoing, officials said.

Neither parent could provide any explanation for the child’s injuries, according to court documents, but prosecutors say doctors found the injuries consistent with shaking the child or slamming her down onto a soft surface.

The baby’s parents took her to the hospital in February because she was fussy and hadn’t been eating well. They later said the baby also suffered a fall around that time, but doctors say the couple never provided that information during the initial exam, according to a probable cause affidavit.

The baby was examined and sent home.

Knott’s mother, who helps care for the child, dialed 911 on March 30, saying something was wrong with the girl and she was gasping for air, court documents state.

The baby was taken by ambulance to Hancock Regional Hospital then flown by air ambulance to Riley Hospital for Children, where doctors initially said they didn’t believe she would survive, officials said.

The child’s condition has since improved, and she has been released from the hospital. Her long-term prognosis is unclear. She is expected to have lifelong health problems.

The child is currently in the care of a relative.

Knott faces a single charge of child neglect as a Class D felony.

Suddarth faces two charges of neglect, one Class D felony and one Class B felony.

Class D felonies carry a penalty of six months to three years and up to $10,000 in fines. Class B felonies carry a range of six to 20 years and up to $10,000 in fines.

Suddarth was in custody at the Hancock County Jail late Friday. Knott had not yet been arrested. Initial hearings for the couple likely will be held at the first of the week in Hancock Circuit Court.

A no-contact order with the child is also expected to be issued.

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