Police: ‘Frustrated’ man critically injures Ferndale baby

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A Ferndale man was arrested Sunday, suspected of harming an infant in his care and causing critical head injuries, the Ferndale Police Department said Monday.

Evaristo Mendez, 25, faces one count of first-degree assault on a child in the Dec. 31 incident, said Ferndale spokesman Riley Sweeney. Sweeney said Children’s Hospital in Seattle alerted police to a possible assault on the 6-month-old child.

“(The baby) showed signs of acute trauma to the head, and they performed surgery to release fluid on the brain,” Sweeney said. The infant was released from the hospital Jan. 18, he said.

He said Ferndale police learned details of the baby’s injuries Jan. 12.

“When (detectives) spoke with (Mendez), he admitted to getting frustrated with the child, who was fussy and wouldn’t eat,” Sweeney said.

He said Mendez told detectives the infant was sitting in a Rock N Play, a kind of bouncy seat for small children. Mendez said he tipped the rocker over and the baby struck his head.

“His injuries were extensive,” but limited to the child’s head, Sweeney said. He was unsure of the baby’s long-term prognosis.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty