An Ashford man is accused of assaulting a 7-month-old baby girl by holding his hand over her mouth and nose, according to state police.
Joseph Mullikin, 37, of Ashford, has been charged with risk of injury to a child, assault in the first degree and strangulation/suffocation in the second degree.
A report from state police said the baby suffered bruising on her face, eyes and ears was being treated at Connecticut Children’s in Hartford.
State police got involved when officials from the state Department of Children and Families contacted them on Sept. 26 because doctors at Connecticut Children’s found the injuries to be suspicious and determined the child might have been the victim of abuse or neglect.
The mother told police that she lives with Mullikin and the baby and the baby was up and playing when she left for work at 2:15 p.m. on Sept. 25 while Millikin, who works at home, stayed home with the baby.
When the mother returned home around 8:20 p.m., the baby was resting on Mullikin’s shoulder and she noticed some injuries and feared it might be leukemia, so she called a pediatric nurse. The nurse did not seem concerned, but the mother brought the baby to an urgent care facility in West Hartford around 10 p.m., she told police.
Medical staff there recommended that the baby then be taken to Connecticut Children’s for tests, according to the arrest warrant application.
The mother went on to tell authorities that there had been two prior incidents when the baby was alone with Millikin, one when the baby choked on a black bean and another when the baby had yellowish marks on her back weeks earlier, the arrest warrant application says.
Mullikin told authorities that the injuries on the baby’s back came from holding her “too rough” and the child’s facial injuries might have happened when she dropped a plastic toy on her face, according to the arrest warrant application.
Medical personnel, however, told police that the back injury could be caused by a forcible strike and the facial injuries were from compression or suffocation, according to documents from police.
When Mullikin went to the police headquarters to speak to police, he admitted to holding the baby and placing his hand over her mouth and nose and squeezing her, according to the arrest warrant application. He went on to say he tried to control himself but couldn’t because of frustration.
After hearing the baby’s muffle cry, Mullikin removed his hand from the baby’s face and it sounded like she was trying to catch her breath, the arrest warrant application says. Soon after, the baby fell asleep and her mother soon came home and noticed the marks, according to police.
Medical staff told police that the baby should not suffer long-term effects because she did not lose consciousness.
Bond was set at $200,000 and Mullikin is due in court on Wednesday.