Two-Year-Old Bowling Green Baby Remains in Critical Condition

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky (WBKO) -- According to court documents, a two-year-old Bowling Green baby suffered multiple bruises to his back, chest, scrotum and thighs. Bowling Green Police has not released the baby's name.

One document says, "the doctor on scene advised the baby suffers from a brain injury" and suggested "these injuries are consistent with child abuse".

"Just a little before one o'clock this morning, we received a call from the Medical Center. They were treating a child there that had multiple injuries and they wanted us to come and investigate," said Ronnie Ward, Bowling Green Police Department's Public Information Officer.

Police say, when they began the investigation, the two-year-old child was unconscious.

Since then, Bowling Green Police has arrested 19-year-old Austin Searles, of Bowling Green. He is charged with Assault First-Degree and Criminal Abuse First-Degree. Searles is the boyfriend of the injured baby's mother, Penny Hicks.

22-year-old, Penny Hicks, has also been arrested. She is charged with Criminal Abuse First-Degree (with complicity) and Assault First-Degree (with complicity).

According to court documents, Hicks suggested to police "she saw the visible injuries to her son's body but did not seek medical attention for him". She continued to leave her son under the supervision of her boyfriend even after she was aware of the abuse.

The documents also state that Searles, Hick's boyfriend, initially stated that the two-year-old victim was involved in a four wheeler accident the previous weekend. In the documents, Searles also said the baby fell in the bath tub, and struck his head.

The court documents state that the injuries present on the baby's body were not consistent with Searles statement. The documents state that Searles delayed treatment for an extended period of time, due to fearing police action.

The same court papers suggest that Searles admitted to striking the baby multiple times while in a custodial role, causing his current injuries.

"While we were at the hospital, staff was preparing to transport the two-year-old baby to Vanderbilt by air flight," said Ronnie Ward, Bowling Green Police Department's Public Information Officer.

Moments after police began their investigation at the Medical Center, the two-year-old victim was flown to Vanderbilt and remains in critical condition.

Police say this is an ongoing investigation.

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