Bremerton man charged with assaulting 8-week-old infant

A sign posted at a Silverdale business to honor the 8-week-old child who had severe injuries allegedly at the hands of his mother
A sign posted at a Silverdale business to honor the 8-week-old child who had severe injuries allegedly at the hands of his mother's boyfriend.
— image credit: Seraine Page

An East Bremerton man was arrested and booked for assault of a child in the first degree for allegedly abusing his girlfriend's 8-week-old son.

Timothy David Barnes, 30, was arrested last Friday after authorities responded to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital in Tacoma to investigate the possible assault and found enough evidence to arrest and book him. He is now being held at the Kitsap County Jail on $1 million bail.

Medical staff treating the infant in Tacoma discovered "severe/massive brain trauma… the brain is swollen and bleeding," according to a news release from the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office (KCSO).

The infant was considered to be in a "non-responsive state" and was "listless upon examination," states the report. The child is listed in critical condition, and there is a possibility of death, according to the report.

A child abuse specialist who examined the infant believed that there is "concern for abuse and neglect" based on the known circumstances.

Barnes has a prior criminal history. While being interviewed, Barnes admitted he has four felony convictions and also served five years in prison for possession of LSD. In addition to that, he said he twice evaded police officers and committed a burglary.

In the report, Barnes also admitted to being arrested for "assaulting a public servant." He also stated he had no previous experience in infant care, "with the exception of taking a child psychology course while incarcerated."

Additionally, doctors discovered three fractured ribs, two old and one more recent, and an "adult-sized human bite mark that broke skin," according to the sheriff's office.

A social worker contacted the KCSO to report the baby's mother brought her son "into the hospital with indications of serious abuse," states the KCSO press release.

Barnes and the child's mother serve as primary caregivers, and all three live Bremerton. He is not the child's biological father, states the report.

Other than not being able to maintain proper weight since birth, the infant had no other major health issues.

According to the KCSO report, when the mother left for work on Jan. 2, the infant was fine. After arriving home, she noted her child was in a "zombie-like state" and had difficulty breathing and refused to eat. The mother wanted to take her child to the hospital that evening, but Barnes convinced her not to "in hopes that the baby would be fine."

Barnes also told the infant's mother that he wanted to go to the doctor with her to explain the bite mark on the child's arm, but had work early the next day.

In a "non-custodial interview" at the hospital, Barnes stated while watching the child at home, he put the child's arm in his mouth in a "playful way." He told authorities the baby seemed to be slipping out of his grasp, so he "clenched his teeth" on the baby's arm to keep him from falling.

Barnes also stated he had "trouble burping" the child and bent the child's knees to his chest "several times" to assist. An attending physician told authorities it would have had to been done "aggressively" to cause that type of internal damage.

The bruise on the child's head was from a bathtub incident in where the child slipped and hit his head, Barnes told deputies. The attending physician also told deputies that the "severe internal head trauma" could not have been caused the way Barnes described.

Barnes admitted that the child's mother is a "good mother" and had never treated her child inappropriately. The mother advised that she felt that Barnes is a large guy who "does not know his own strength."

After taking the infant to see his regular pediatrician on Jan. 3, the child was taken to Harrison Hospital in Silverdale before being transported to Mary Bridge Children's Hospital because of the severe injuries.

On the way to the hospital, the mother admitted to authorities that her boyfriend did not handle the baby "as gently" as he could have, and while at the hospital he stated he was a "bad daddy" and didn't deserve to act like a dad to the child.

Barnes' next scheduled court appearance is slated for Jan. 21.

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