Seymour man convicted of neglect, battery

A Jackson Circuit Court jury convicted a rural Seymour man of three counts of neglect of a dependent and battery Friday afternoon.

That verdict against Evan D. Huntsinger, 31, came after about three hours of deliberations that ended shortly after 4 p.m., Jackson County Prosecutor AmyMarie Travis said.

Huntsinger’s trial on Level 3 felony counts of battery resulting in serious bodily injury and neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury and two Level 6 felony counts of simple neglect began Tuesday. Those charges stem from a two-month investigation in the spring of 2016 into an incident in which a 7-month-old child sustained injuries.

That investigation was conducted by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

The infant had been brought to Schneck Medical Center’s emergency room Feb. 22, 2016, by the parents for unknown medical reasons, police said at the time.

Personnel at the Seymour hospital provided care and performed tests on the child.

Doctors determined the child had suffered an internal head injury, and the baby was transferred to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis for further treatment.

At Riley, doctors confirmed the head injury and bleeding on the brain. Later testing also discovered the child was suffering from a fractured rib.

Police were contacted by the Indiana Department of Child Services to investigate how the child was injured.

Officer Jesse Hutchinson said the DCS caseworker had spoken with Huntsinger, who said the child was sitting in a bouncy seat and he had picked the baby up to give him a bottle.

According to court records, Huntsinger told the caseworker that he fed the baby about an ounce of the bottle, and the child “flailed his arms, threw his head back and then went limp,” at which time Huntsinger said he put the child in his car and went to the hospital.

At Riley, the child underwent an eye exam, which indicated hemorrhaging that would be consistent with the infant being shaken, according to court documents.

The attending physician determined the injuries to be characteristic of “abusive head trauma.”

“This injury would require an amount of force that a reasonable caretaker would recognize as dangerous to an infant. It would not result from routine handling or care,” the report stated.

During the investigation, police developed Huntsinger as a suspect and submitted evidence to the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office, which petitioned the court for the arrest.

Huntinger surrendered to police April 20, 2016.

Both Level 3 felonies are punishable by three to 16 years in prison, while the Level 6 felonies are punishable by six months to two and a half years in prison.

“We felt justice was served with this verdict,” Travis said.

Officer Tom Barker was the lead detective on the case, which was prosecuted by Chief Deputy Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant.