An Eagan man has been arrested on a warrant charging him with malicious punishment of a child after authorities say he violently shook his infant daughter and repeatedly twisted her legs, causing fractures to her ribs and bleeding in her brain.
Derek Dell Schindler, 31, faces two felony charges: malicious punishment of a child resulting in substantial bodily harm and malicious punishment of a child, each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Schindler, who was arrested Monday in Burnsville, remains in the Dakota County Jail on a $100,000 bond. An omnibus hearing in his case is scheduled for Sept. 19 in Dakota County District Court in Hastings.
According to the criminal complaint, Schindler and the child’s mother took the 11-week-old baby to her regular pediatrician in St. Paul on June 14.
The baby’s mother told the doctor that she was worried about her daughter’s right leg, which had been swollen for two weeks. The doctor x-rayed the leg and discovered a femur fracture.
The pediatrician advised the parents to take the baby to the Children’s Hospital emergency room immediately. However, a friend of Schindler’s told police that Schindler told the child’s mother in the parking lot that they should wait until the next day to take the baby to an emergency room in Burnsville, shouting at her when she cried and pleaded with him to take the baby to the hospital right away.
The family returned to their Eagan apartment, where the baby’s mother continued trying to convince Schindler to take the baby to the emergency room, the witness said. The woman finally called Schindler’s father and asked him to come and help her get the child to the hospital.
Schindler’s father collected the baby and her mother and took them to the hospital, with Schindler following in a separate car.
Doctors at Children’s Hospital performed full-body x-rays, along with MRI and CAT scans. The tests revealed not only the original femur fracture, but a tibia fracture on the baby’s right leg, and as many as nine healing rib fractures, according to the complaint.
CT and MRI scans revealed that the baby also had blood in her brain, the complaint says.
Doctors said the injuries were consistent with grabbing, twisting or jerking the legs, and violent squeezing or shaking.
A nurse practitioner met separately with each parent. The baby’s mother said she works outside the home as a house cleaner, and Schindler, who was unemployed, took care of the child. Schindler told the nurse practitioner that about two weeks earlier, he leaned forward over the baby to keep the cat from jumping on her, and heard a “pop” sound.
Schindler later told police that he had not harmed the baby. He said that when the pediatrician told them to take the baby to the emergency room because of the fracture in her leg, he thought they could treat it at home “because she was moving her leg fine,” according to the complaint.
The baby’s mother told a detective and a social worker that she had noticed a mark on the baby’s back in May, and that she had called a nurses’ line with questions about bruises on her back. Later in May, the mother said, she noticed a mark on the baby’s lower forearm. She said that whenever she expressed concern about the child, Schindler told her that the baby was fine and didn’t need medical attention.
The baby was discharged from the hospital on June 21 and placed in foster care.