Metro-East News

Police find Missouri toddler covered in bruises, blood, human bite marks

Brandon D. Johnson and Kristen Hopper were both charged with child abuse and neglect in Troy, Mo.
Brandon D. Johnson and Kristen Hopper were both charged with child abuse and neglect in Troy, Mo.

A Troy, Missouri couple has been charged with abusing and neglecting their 11-month-old son, police say.

Officers found an 11-month-old with “substantial bruises, cuts to the head and face (and) human bite marks on his body” during a call to the 700 block of West Wood Street in Troy for an injured juvenile Saturday, according to a news release from Troy police. The infant had blood around his injuries, as well as blood coming from inside both ears and his nose. His ears and lips were discolored due to bruising.

The boy was transported to a St. Louis pediatric hospital via a medical helicopter. He underwent emergency surgery Saturday afternoon to repair internal injuries in his mouth due to the trauma sustained, according to the release. The boy’s nose was broken, and both eardrums were ruptured.

His father, Brandon D. Johnson, told police he had laid down on the living room couch with the child at about 11 p.m. Friday night, and fell asleep a few hours later with the boy lying between his left arm and chest, along the back of the couch.

“At that time, other than ‘maybe’ having a few ‘slight’ scratches on the backs of his hands (from the family cat), the infant had no apparent injuries,” according to the news release.

When Johnson woke up at about 5 a.m., he noticed the child sitting up in the corner of the couch near his feet, according to the release. Both Johnson and the baby were covered in blood. Johnson told police his son had blood all over his face and hands, and looked to have a cut on the right side of his head. He used baby-wipes to clean the child off, and changed him out of the “blood soaked ‘onesie.’”

He told police he didn’t know what had caused the child’s injuries, and that he didn’t immediately call for medical help because he freaked out and didn’t know what to do, according to the release.

The child’s mother, Kristen Hopper, came home around 7 a.m. and saw the child’s injuries, according to the report. Johnson called his mother at about 8:30 a.m. and asked her to come to their home. Johnson’s mother arrived at about 9 a.m., and called an off-duty Troy police officer, who then sent first responders to the house.

Johnson was charged with three counts of abuse of neglect of a child causing serious physical injury, and Hopper faces one count of the same charge. Johnson’s bail was set at $250,000, and Hopper’s at $100,000.

The infant was placed in protective custody.