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Man charged in assault of South St. Paul toddler
A South St. Paul man was charged Friday, June 27 in connection with the assault of his girlfriend's 15-month-old son, according to a criminal complaint filed in Dakota County District Court.
The toddler suffered extensive injuries, including swelling and bleeding that required surgery where a piece of his skull was removed to relieve pressure on his brain. Doctors say the child could have lasting physical issues, such as paralysis and brain damage -- if he survives.
Lamar J. Crump, 21, is facing charges for first-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child, both felonies.
When officers were summoned to a South St. Paul apartment early June 26, they found the boy lying on his back on the floor of the living room, court documents said. A woman, a neighbor, was kneeling next to him; Crump was pacing and talking to his girlfriend, the child's mother.
In critical condition, the child was taken via ambulance to St. Paul Children's Hospital, the complaint said. He had brain swelling and bleeding, which required immediate surgery, a lacerated liver and internal bleeding.
Bruises reportedly covered his face, abdomen and back. A bruise on his buttocks appeared to be in the shape of a hand.
One doctor said the boy's injuries came from "severe trauma, are life threatening, and child abuse is the most likely diagnosis," according to the complaint. The pediatric neurosurgeon said he could have long-term complications, including impaired mental abilities and paralysis.
The neighbor's daughter, who often watches the boy while his mom is at work, told police she brought the toddler home at 5 a.m. June 26 after watching him overnight, leaving him with Crump. She told police the boy was fine at the time.
Just over an hour later, the neighbor said Crump pounded on her door, yelling that the boy -- limp and unresponsive in his arms -- was not breathing.
The neighbors reportedly said the boy was wearing a different shirt than the one he wore when he was dropped off, the complaint said. Authorities later found the collar of the orange shirt he wore earlier had been stretched out; the shirt stitches were coming loose.
Neighbors reportedly heard loud banging, thumping and a high-pitched scream that sounded like a child's voice coming from the apartment early that morning.
At the apartment, Crump told police the boy just wouldn't wake up and wasn't breathing, the complaint said. He allegedly changed his story multiple times at the hospital.
The mother told police she spoke with Crump later in the day on the phone, the complaint said. She said he was crying, apologizing and saying he was afraid police might find drugs in her apartment. When Crump drove her to the hospital, she said he took off a shirt that had "snot all over it" and threw it away at a gas station.
Police arrested Crump at the hospital, the complaint said. Police searched his car and found "what is believed to be traces of blood on the floor of the vehicle."
Crump's first appearance in court occurred late Friday, June 27. His bail was set at $300,000 without conditions or $100,000 with conditions.
If convicted, Crump could face up to 20 years in prison and a $30,000 fine for the more severe charge.
An omnibus hearing for Crump is scheduled 9 a.m. July 15.
Kaitlyn Roby can be reached at 651-748-7815 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her at twitter.com/KRobyNews.