Child abuse charge re-filed

SANDPOINT - A felony child abuse charge was re-filed Thursday against a Ponderay man accused inflicting a litany of serious injuries on his month-old son last month.

The re-filing comes a day after a magistrate court judge dismissed the case against Bobby Daniel Adams because the state did not put up enough evidence to rule out the child's mother as the potential source of the abuse.

As a result, Judge Justin Julian said he was "reluctantly" dismissing the case against Adams without prejudice, which enabled Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson to move for the charge's reinstatement.

"I just find this unbelievable," Adams said during a brief initial court appearance on Thursday.

Judge Debra Heise set Adams' bail at $100,000 and reactivated a no-contact order in the case.

Adams advised the court he intends to obtain private counsel.

Heise advised Adams that Robinson had presented additional information that implicated him as the source of the abuse, which resulted in a skull fracture, brain damage and vision impairment.

Adams, 25, is charged with inflicting the life-threatening injuries to his son, Dominik, on Aug. 17 at the home he was staying at in Ponderay. The child was about five weeks old at the time.

During a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, the child's mother, 20-year-old Natasha Marie Ward, testified that she bathed, fed and changed Dominik before meeting her father for lunch on the day in question. Ward told the court the child appeared to be OK when she left the home.

Idaho State Police detective Beth Bradbury told the court on Wednesday that Adams said he was alone with the child but repeatedly denied harming him. The child's pediatric physician, Dr. Joyce Gilbert, testified Dominik's injuries bore the telltale signs of shaken baby syndrome.

The state contends Ward had nothing to do with the litany of serious injuries, although Gilbert testified about receiving an anonymous call from somebody who reported seeing Ward yelling at her weeks-old son at the Ponderay Wal-Mart, which seemed to raise suspicion that she might be abusing her son.

Heise asked Robinson on Thursday how Ward had been excluded as a suspect, according to probable cause hearing records.

Robinson cited a sequence of prior testimony from Gilbert, who said the current body of science surrounding shaken baby syndrome indicates the onset of symptoms is instantaneous or within a span of five to 10 minutes. He paired those remarks with a statement provided by Dr. Gary Lee, the pediatric specialist who treated Dominik at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. Lee also interviewed Adams at the hospital.

Robinson said Lee was told by Adams that Dominik seemed fine after Ward left the home, but later became fussy and he went to prepare a bottle. The baby settled down but later went into a seizure and became lethargic, Adams reportedly told Lee.

Lee concluded the injuries were the result of being violently shaken multiple times and struck against a hard surface, said Robinson, who contends Ward was away from the home for 45 minutes to an hour.

Lee, according to Robinson, said there was no chance there was a delayed onset of the shaken baby syndrome symptoms.

"There's no question in Dr. Lee's mind - not only with what happened to the child but, based on the persons present and the time frame - that there is no one else that could have injured the child but Bobby Adams," Robinson told Heise.

It was also revealed during the probable cause that Adams was convicted of felony child abuse on another of his biological children in Washington state several years ago, an incident which bore a disturbing resemblance to the latest case.

Robinson said Adams locked himself in a room with his seven-month-old child in Bremerton. When he emerged from the room, the child had extensive bruising and bite marks, said, Robinson who added that Adams pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of third-degree child abuse and lost his parental rights.

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