NEWTON, N.C. – A 7-month-old male infant died on New Year’s Day as a result of what officials are calling “horrific trauma.” Police have charged Tyler Linebarger with murder, accusing him of causing the injuries that ultimately led to the child’s death.
EMS and law enforcement officers responded to 711-E Sandalwood Court on New Year’s Eve upon reports of an infant not breathing. When officials arrived on the scene, they were met by Linebarger, the mother’s boyfriend.
The child was ultimately taken to Catawba Valley Medical Center for treatment where he succumbed to his injuries the following day.
According to records, the infant child had broken ribs, bruises, and multiple internal injuries.
On the scene, Linebarger, 23, told officials that he left the baby on the sofa while he went upstairs to take a shower. When he came back downstairs, according to Linebarger, the infant was lying on the floor. He picked up the baby, placed him on the sofa, and went back upstairs.
Returning downstairs, Linebarger found the child on the sofa, blue in the face and not breathing. It was then that he called 911.
DSS officials and officers learned through hospital personnel that an examination of the infant revealed past injuries as well as recent ones that were severe in nature. The child was transported to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte for surgery, and later died of his injuries.
Injuries were discovered in various parts of the child’s body. Older injuries found by medical personnel were in different stages of healing. Police are now trying to determine if the 2-year-old sister of the infant has been victimized as well.
Linebarger was located through his mother, who promised to bring him to police headquarters for questioning. Linebarger appeared at Newton Police Headquarters on Thursday, but refused to speak with investigators.
The accused was transported to Catawba County Detention Center on no bond after being charged with one count of felony child abuse inflicting serious injury. The charge was upgraded to murder when the baby died.
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