An 18-year-old mom and her 19-year-old boyfriend have been charged with reckless injury to a child, a felony, after they couldn't explain how an eight-month-old baby sustained more than 20 types of fractures and injuries all over his body.
Kardea Lockett and Nicholas Tyler have been under investigation by Harris County Sheriff's Office deputies since March, when they took Lockett's baby to the hospital for a bad bump on the head and hospital staff became skeptical of their story. They are also charged with injury by omission, a felony, for waiting so long to bring the baby to the hospital.
Lockett and Tyler, who is not the infant's biological father but refers to him as his son, told hospital staff that the baby simply fell off an ottoman and hit his head on the carpet. While one head injury was sustained within the past 24 hours, doctors observed another fracture to the head that appeared to be old and in the process of healing.
Then, a CAT scan found the baby also had a fractured left leg, rib fractures, compression fractures on several vertebral bodies, a fractured upper arm, and fractured fingers and toes, among others, according to the criminal complaint.
At that point, the story about the fall from the ottoman simply didn't add up, in the eyes of doctors and the police.
According to interviews deputies have conducted with the couple's family and friends since March, Lockett and Tyler have not had a stable place to live for much of the baby's life. When he was born, Lockett moved in with her aunt and around that time met Tyler, who became a regular caretaker of the baby when he was one month old. In February 2017, the aunt asked them to leave, and they began staying at various friends' apartments for short periods of time.
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While both said they were the primary caretakers and no one else had regular access to the baby, they each denied causing any of the injuries and said they had no knowledge of the other hurting him, whether intentionally or by accident.
Lockett's sister told deputies that, in the 48 hours before Lockett and Tyler took the baby to the hospital, the baby had an obvious swollen lump on his head; he was inconsolable and would not take a bottle throughout the day. She suggested they take the baby to a doctor, but instead they took the baby to Lockett's mom. In fact, they dropped off the baby and said they were going to look for jobs — but Lockett's mother, Scipia Wade, refused to let them leave, immediately noticing that the baby needed to go to the hospital. Finally, they allowed Lockett's sister to take them.
Police also interviewed Lockett's grandfather, who said that he was so concerned about the baby's condition that he took a video of the baby, who kept falling because his left leg kept buckling. The grandfather, Clifford Brown, thought there was something wrong with the baby — that this wasn't typical of an infant learning to walk. But Lockett and Tyler said everything was fine, according to Brown.
Lockett is being held in jail on a $20,000 bond. A warrant is out for Tyler's arrest. Crimestoppers is offering a $5,000 reward leading to his arrest. Anyone with information can call 713-222-TIPS.