Arrests made in child neglect/abuse case

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Two people have been arrested and are facing felony child neglect charges in Marinette County.

The Marinette County Sheriff’s Office say a criminal complaint is now filed against Katrina Ann Blasing (age 33) of Wausaukee and Ryan Scott Lenz (age 29) of Crivitz. They have both been charged with felony child neglect leading to great bodily harm to a four and a half month old baby boy. Blasing is the mother of the infant.

The investigation is ongoing, and the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help from the public. If you have any information about the two individuals, please contact the Marinette Sheriff’s Office Dispatch Center at 715-732-7626.

The infant was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He had large acute/subacute chronic subdural hematomas over the cerebral convexities, brain injury, bilateral parietal skull fractures, multiple healing rib fractures, metaphyseal fractures of extremities, extensive bruising, and intra-oral injury. These injuries are indicative of more than one incident of non-accidental trauma and child abuse.

According to Dr. Guinn’s report, the baby had bilateral skull fractures on chronic subdural hematomas as well as acute/subacute global hypoxic ischemic injury to the brain which caused a significant change in his level of consciousness. While a rapidly expanding subdural fluid collection could also result in the symptoms he experienced, there was a new onset head bruising and swelling on February 2, 2015. This indicates an acute abusive event in addition to a remote event. Regarding timing of the injuries, there appears to be more than one injury event. Those intra-cranial injuries cannot be precisely timed by imaging alone, it appears that there are both chronic and acute subdural hemorrhages on initial CT scan.

A more recent event is supported by the abrupt onset of unresponsiveness of the infant on February 2, 2015, along with the occurrence of bruising and swelling to the head. The most common cause of this constellation of injuries is a massive acceleration-deceleration event with a rotational component, with or without impact. In this case, there is evidence of impact to the head with skull fractures and bruising in addition to a rotational-acceleration/deceleration event. This type of force can be seen when a child is violently slammed, shaken and/or thrown. These injuries would not be expected with minor household trauma, such as a fall from a couch or a bed. Dr. Guinn opined that in the absence of any history of a severe, massive accidental traumatic event, this constellation of injuries is highly specific for inflicted or abusive head trauma with reasonable medical certainty.

Dr. Guinn’s report also states there were injuries to the spine. Those injuries support the diagnosis of abusive head trauma, as injuries to the spine are more common in child abuse than an accidental injury.

Also reported by Dr. Guinn was that the baby had healing posterior rib fractures of ribs 9 through 11 on the right, ribs 2 through 7 on the left, and the antero-lateral left ribs 4 through 5. She noted that there were also rib fractures along the posterior aspect (back part of the body) adjacent to the spine. Dr. Guinn stated that rib fractures are highly associated with abuse and usually result from severe antero-posterior (AP) compression such as is experienced when a child is violently squeezed around the chest. These fractures are commonly seen in babies who have been shaken. However, they can also be seen in other abusive scenarios such as impact to the chest. Fractures of the ribcage that are in the lateral and antero-lateral margins also could have resulted from severe antero-posterior compression of the chest or from direct blows such as a punch or a kick to the ribcage. Because these fractures have callused formation, they are likely to be at least five to seven days old and possibly older.

Dr. Guinn also noted that he had multiple metaphyseal fractures of the left humerus, metaphyseal fractures of both femurs, a proximal left tibia metaphyseal fracture, and bilateral distal tibia metaphyseal fractures. According to Dr. Guinn’s report, these classic metaphyseal lesions (CML) are also sometimes referred to as “corner” fractures. This type of fracture occurs near the end of long bones and usually affects younger children. The mechanism of a CML is severe force traction and/or torsion such as a “yank and twist” to the extremity or forceful acceleration/deceleration of the extremities as might occur during violent shaking/slamming. These types of fractures do not occur during the routine care, handling, or activity of a healthy infant. CMLs are highly specific for inflicted trauma in a non-mobile child and there is no history of accidental trauma that would explain this injury. According to Dr. Guinn, this injury is highly concerning for child physical abuse.

Dr. Guinn stated the infant also had a laceration to the upper lip. Dr. Guinn noted that in pre-cruising infants who are not yet mobile, intra-oral injuries are highly concerning for child physical abuse. C.G. also had two bite injuries, one on the abdomen and one on the right thigh. Dr. Guinn noted that the bite injuries could have been inflicted by either a child or an adult.

The baby boy also had multiple severe bruises to the face, ears, peri-ocular area, head, back, and extremities, including the feet. Those injuries were diagnostic for inflicted trauma and abuse. Dr. Guinn summarized her report by stating that he has multiple severe injuries, including head trauma, skeletal trauma, intra-oral trauma, and cutaneous injuries. Dr. Guinn opined that those injuries were of differing ages and were diagnostic to within medical certainty for more than one incident of abuse occurring to him.

Dr. Guinn also filed a report on February 9, 2015, regarding an eye exam performed on the boy. The results of the eye examination revealed that intraretinal and pre-retinal hemorrhages. Additionally, he had retinal hemorrhages too numerous to count in multiple layers extending throughout the posterior pole and peripheral retina out to the ora serrata. Dr. Guinn stated the infant had extensive, bilateral, multi-layered retinal hemorrhages that extend out to the periphery. This pattern of retinal hemorrhages is virtually diagnostic of an inflicted or abusive head trauma. These retinal hemorrhages occur with violent acceleration and deceleration with a rotational component, as might occur when an infant or child is violently shaken and/or thrown. They are not seen with minor trauma such as a household fall from a couch or bed. Dr. Guinn stated that the finding of bilateral retinal hemorrhages, too numerous to count in multiple layers extending throughout the posterior pole and peripheral retina out to the ora serrata, in an infant with subdural hemorrhages and brain injury is diagnostic within medical certainty for abusive head trauma. In addition, the boy has multiple rib fractures, multiple metaphyseal fractures, bilateral skull fractures, severe bruising, and intra-oral injury that confirmed the diagnosis of child abuse.

Detectives Dan Miller and Chris Lesperance of the Marinette County Sheriff’s Office spoke by telephone with Dr. Guinn on February 10, 2015. In that phone conversation, Dr. Guinn stated that the delay in getting the infant medical attention over the course of the day on February 2, 2015, made his condition worse. Dr. Guinn further stated that the delay in seeking medical attention could have resulted in the infant’s death.

On February 2, 2015, at 11:05 p.m. deputies responded to N7793 Shaffer Road in the Town of Stephenson, Marinette County, Wisconsin. Katrina Blasing, the mother of the infant, placed a 911 call at 11:05 p.m. It took Katrina approximately 7:30 minutes into the call before Katrina said what is wrong and that she needs rescue. She mentions a baby prior to that point but talks about killing whoever and what she had done that day. Katrina was highly emotional. At 4:50 minutes into the call, Katrina referenced a right side of face was bruised and swelled up. Katrina was explaining who was there, specifically Cassandra and Calvin. After being asked again at 7:18 minutes into the call, Katrina said send rescue please.

Dr. Guinn stated that the infant had severe brain swelling; and when he arrived at the hospital, they brought him into surgery to relieve that swelling. She stated that a delay in seeking medical attention made the brain swelling worse and that could have been a fatal event for the baby boy.

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