A Kansas City man with a prior child-endangerment conviction was charged Wednesday in connection with an infant’s death.
Jackson County prosecutors charged Keith L. Nelson, 42, with first-degree assault and endangering the welfare of the child, and said additional charges could be filed once the medical examiner’s report is completed.
Police and an ambulance were called just before 1 p.m. Tuesday to an apartment in the 6000 block of Blue Hills Road on a report that a 5-month-old boy was not breathing. The child was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.
Hospital personnel described an injury to the baby’s head as “most concerning with abusive head trauma,” according to a probable cause statement filed in Jackson County Circuit Court.
Nelson told detectives that he was the baby’s sole caretaker Tuesday and initially said that the baby awoke from a nap making choking sounds. He said he called 911 and performed CPR until help arrived. When detectives told Nelson that the baby’s injuries were “consistent with abusive trauma,” he told them he may have been “a little heavy-handed” when he picked up the choking child, according to the court documents.
Nelson then told investigators that he had taken something out to the trash and when he returned, the baby had rolled off the bed onto the floor.
Finally, he said that he was holding the baby up to a mirror and the child slipped from his grasp, striking his head on a bathroom vanity, according to the court documents.
Jackson County court records show that Nelson previously pleaded guilty to endangering the welfare of a child and was sentenced to four years in prison.
That case involved the abuse death of Nelson’s 9-week-old daughter in 1997. The baby’s mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison for abusing the girl, and Nelson was prosecuted for knowing about the abuse but failing to stop it, according to media reports at the time.
Court documents do notdisclose Nelson’s relationship to the infant who died Tuesday.