GREENFIELD — A Greenfield couple was arrested on battery and neglect charges Thursday, four months after the Department of Child Services received the first report of suspicious injuries to the pair’s infant daughter.
Joshua Wade, 27; and Kristan Wade, 20, have offered several explanations for the bruises, scratches – and most recently, broken bones – their daughter has suffered since the investigation began in late August.
DCS first visited the Wades’ home in the White Brooke mobile home park on Pratt Street on Aug. 30 after receiving a report of bruises on the couple’s then-4-month-old daughter.
Kristan Wade punched a wall and said she didn’t hit her child as soon as DCS family case manager Justin Wesley and Greenfield police Patrolman Justin Jackson entered the home, according to a probable cause affidavit.
She told investigators a number of things could have caused the bruise underneath her daughter’s right eye and the scratches on her face.
Kristan Wade said the baby’s bed was broken and could have caused a bruise. The mother then said she was trying to throw a pebble away, but the pebble landed in the baby’s bed, and the baby rolled over on it several times and was scratched. Kristan Wade also said she “playfully pinches” the baby’s cheeks and must have pinched too hard, court documents state.
A teething toy left in her daughter’s bed might also be to blame, she said.
Wesley asked Kristan Wade if she would submit to a drug screen after the mother said she didn’t use drugs while caring for the baby.
After being told a drug screen would test for synthetic drugs, Kristan Wade admitted to having smoked pep spice, which has effects similar to marijuana, earlier in the day, court records state.
Investigators attempted to interview the baby’s father, Joshua Wade, the same day, but Joshua said he was at work and couldn’t leave, according to the probable cause affidavit.
The baby was removed from the home and taken to the hospital, where doctors found evidence of soft-tissue swelling on the baby’s head but no other serious injuries, court records state.
The baby was turned over to Kristan Wade’s parents until a fact-finding hearing on the child’s care could be held. The baby’s parents were allowed to visit, as long as the visits were supervised.
Greenfield police Detective Nichole Gilbert interviewed the Wades separately on Oct. 5 about the baby’s injuries from late August.
Kristan Wade then blamed the bruises on a neighbor child, a 12-year-old girl she said admitted to having dropped something on the baby.
Joshua Wade backed up his wife’s story, saying the girl “is very rough with the kids she watches,” according to court documents.
Gilbert interviewed the neighbor girl about a month later, on Nov. 7. Police initially had trouble locating the girl because her family had moved, Gilbert said. The interview had to be coordinated when her mother was present because the girl was a juvenile.
The girl admitted she was in the Wades’ home the day the baby received the bruise but said it happened when Kristan Wade “asked her if she wanted to see the baby laugh,” then “took her hand and squeezed the baby’s face and head really hard,” according to court documents.
The baby began to scream and cry, and Kristan became upset and left the trailer, leaving the baby with the neighbor girl. Joshua Wade was in the shower at the time and didn’t know what was going on, the girl told Gilbert.
The girl also said Kristan Wade asked her to lie about what had happened and say she was the one who had injured the baby, court documents state.
The baby was returned to the parents on Nov. 29 as the investigation continued.
Wednesday, DCS contacted Gilbert to tell her the baby had once again been removed from the home and placed with grandparents because of evidence of new injuries.
Case manager Kimyi Taylor told one of her superiors the baby was acting strangely and appeared to be suffering from leg pain, court documents state.
A bone scan revealed fractures to both the baby’s legs, court documents state. The baby also had bruising to her forehead.
The baby’s parents denied having any knowledge of how the child could have been injured again.
Joshua Wade suggested the bruising could be from the baby falling, face-first, while sitting in her play pen. Kristan Wade said she might have accidentally set the baby down too hard, causing the fractures, according to court documents.
Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tami Napier said Friday the investigation took several months to complete.
“My understanding from speaking with the detective is that she was preparing to submit the August incidents for screening when the second incidents allegedly occurred,” Napier wrote in an email to the Daily Reporter. “The prosecutor’s office didn’t have any information from which to file until late Wednesday afternoon.”
The Wades were arrested Thursday.
Both pleaded not guilty in Hancock Circuit Court Friday and were ordered to have no contact with their daughter. They have no other children together.