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PKG | Hagerstown mother admits to hitting 3 month old son with baby bottle

HAGERSTOWN, Md. -- According to Washington County court documents, a Hagerstown mother was charged with first-degree child abuse, first-degree assault and reckless endangerment for allegedly beating her three-month old son with a baby bottle.

According to a criminal complaint, Nicole Sullivan, 26, of Hagerstown told a police investigator that she hit her son "very hard three times on the left side of the head" with an empty plastic baby bottle, because he wouldn't stop crying.

The criminal complaint shows the investigation started on July 11, when Sullivan brought the three-month old toMeritus Medical Center.

“[We got] a call from Meritus Medical Center stating that they had a three-month old child out there with the suspected fractured skull,” said Officer Heather Aleshire, a spokesperson for the Hagerstown Police Department (HPD).

Doctors also told police the baby had a fractured right arm, and that Sullivan “showed no sympathy or concern for her son's well being,” the criminal complaint states.

According to the complaint, Sullivan told medical personnel “she couldn’t stand looking at [her son] because he looked like ‘his [expletive] father’.”

“They were concerned and that's why they called the police,” Aleshire said. “That's why our criminal investigations division responded out there."

Court documents said Sullivan eventually agreed to a police interview.

During the interview, Sullivan stated she was upset with her son’s father, and frustrated that her son would not stop crying. Sullivan admitted to a police investigator that on June 30, “she took the empty plastic baby bottle, and stuck [her son] very hard three times on the left side of the head.”

Sullivan also admitted to police that she hit her son's head on a wooden bassinet after putting him down too hard.

Sullivan told police she noticed her son's eyes started to cross shortly after hitting him in the head with the bottle, and later noticed a misshaped skull.

However, according to court documents, Sullivan waited almost two weeks before bringing him to the hospital.

During the police interview, Sullivan offered no explanation for the infant’s fractured right arm.

Doctors reported that the three-month old boy was brought to the hospital “because he was congested, his eyes were crossing, his urine was discolored and his head was misshapen.”

By the time HPD investigators arrived, they were told the infant had been “medically evacuated to Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC for further treatment,” according to the complaint.

Court documents said a pediatrician who evaluated the infant noted that the three-month old boy “may have sustained brain damage that will have a lasting effect on his quality of life…and also it is unknown whether or not his vision will be impaired or if he will have vision at all.”

"The child has been released from the hospital at this point. He is - they are in the care and custody of Department of Social Services,” Aleshire said.

Sullivan also has another son, a twin to the three-month old boy that was injured. However, police say he is also in the care of the Department of Social Services.

Meritus Medical Center reported over 1,400 child abuse cases in 2014.

"If the abuse is happening right then and there, and is in immediate danger of the child, obviously call 911,” Aleshire said. “If you suspect the abuse has been ongoing, call your local [child protective services] to try and get an investigation started.”

Sullivan was released on a $850,000 bond. She is expected back in court on August 20.

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