A Greenbrier woman pleaded guilty Thursday morning to endangering the welfare of a minor in September 2017.
The Class D felony was filed against the then-22-year-old after authorities learned she neglected to take an 11-month-old child to the hospital after the boy fell down five steps.
Authorities learned of the boy’s fall on Oct. 5, 2017, after Megan Dodson, now 24 years old, brought the 11-month-old boy to the hospital. Arkansas Children’s Hospital staff alerted Arkansas State Police investigators that the child’s injuries appeared to be related to child abuse, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office investigators Chad Wooley and Darrell Freeman responded to the hospital along with ASP investigator Tollece Sutter.
According to Wooley’s report, the boy was “crying and unsettled” when they went to check on his condition.
“I observed immediately the drooping of his right eye and its unresponsiveness with the other muscles and movements on his face,” Wooley wrote in his report, also noting the boy “did seem to be clean and outwardly health despite the drooping of his eye.”
Dodson told authorities she and her boyfriend, who was the child’s “half-sister’s paternal uncle” were given custody by the boy’s mother while she sought help at a domestic violence shelter in Hot Springs.
An ACH doctor verified “findings of blood distribution on both sides of the head appearing to be [caused by a] traumatic head injury,” according to the affidavit.
Other exams also revealed a “corner fracture of humerus and [a] fresh fracture on [his first] rib.”
After learning the extend of the nearly-1-year-old’s injuries, Dodson reportedly admitted to FCSO investigators that the boy had fallen down some steps “two or three weeks prior while she was tending to some horses.”
Prior to taking the boy to the hospital, she said he suffered from diarrhea and fever and also said that he had been vomiting and “possibly [had] a seizure.”
The Greenbrier woman’s boyfriend told police he noticed the infant “quit crawling after the alleged fall and noticed the drooping of the eye after as well, however didn’t know why it took them so long to seek medical attention,” the report states.
Dodson was ultimately charged with first-degree endangering the welfare of a minor on May 15, 2018. During a hearing before Circuit Judge Charles “Ed” Clawson Jr., the Greenbrier woman opted to enter a negotiated plea on Thursday.
Dodson pleaded guilty to the charge shortly before 11 a.m. Thursday and was placed on felony probation for five years. The Greenbrier woman must also pay a $1,500 fine. Should she break the conditions of her parole, Dodson will be sentenced to serve a six-year term in the Arkansas Department of Corrections.