A Wichita man has been sentenced to probation after a 2-year-old boy in his care was hospitalized in April with a small octopus lodged in his throat.
The sentencing Thursday of Matthew Gallagher, 37, to two years of probation brought the criminal case to a close but did little to explain exactly how the dead octopus — described as being about 2 inches in diameter — came to be lodged in the boy’s airway.
The boy was not breathing when he was taken to a hospital April 5 after his mother returned home from work to find her boyfriend, Gallagher, performing CPR on the boy. After being hospitalized in what doctors called “a delicate condition,” the boy was eventually released with no apparent long-term injury from oxygen deprivation. But doctors also noted injuries to the boy’s face.
Gallagher’s explanation of the injuries, and of how the boy swallowed the octopus, seemed inconsistent to hospital officials, who called police.
In court, Gallagher pleaded guilty to child endangerment, battery and interference with law enforcement, all misdemeanors. He had originally been charged with a felony count of aggravated child endangerment and was scheduled for a Nov. 7 trial
In addition to probation, Gallagher was sentenced Thursday to a suspended one-year jail term.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.