By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — Police say a one-year-old boy suffered a severe brain injury and nearly died after falling down a flight of steps and being shaken violently by his mother’s boyfriend.
Aaron Radtke, 19, of Schofield, appeared Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court, where he faces charges of first degree recklessly endangering safety and child abuse/recklessly causing great harm. He was ordered held on a $5,000 bond, with the first $1,000 to be paid in cash.
Police launched an investigation on Dec. 20 when rescue crews were summoned to a Schofield home for a report of a toddler who had fallen was injured. When medical help arrived, the boy was breathing but was not responsive, police said.
Radtke allegedly told police he had been babysitting for the boy who fell down after a dog, a miniature pinscher, ran past and knocked him to the floor. The boy was taken to a local hospital and then transferred to Marshfield Medical Center after being diagnosed with bleeding on the brain in three areas, according to court filings.
A subsequent investigation by a doctor at the child advocacy center noted the boy had lost weight and suffered bilateral subdural hemorrhages and bruising of the face and neck and had lost weight, all of which raised “significant concern” for abuse, according to the criminal complaint. The head injuries, according to the medical report, were not consistent with a short fall but were instead compared to the type of injury that might be sustained in a high impact motor vehicle crash.
The investigation continued until Nov. 2, when detectives again interviewed Radtke, who allegedly admitted the boy fell down the steps while Radtke was in the basement of the home. At that time, Radtke became angry and shook the boy until the child went limp and stopped crying, according to the police report.
Radtke, who is being held in the Marathon County Jail, faces up to 27 1/2 years in the Wisconsin Prison System and up to $75,000 in fines if he is convicted on both charges. A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 20.