Local resident receives 9 years: Man sentenced on charges of neglect, battery

Tribune staff reports

A man recently convicted by a Jackson Circuit Court jury of four counts of neglect of a dependent and a battery charge in a 2016 incident in which a 7-month-old child sustained injuries has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Evan D. Huntsinger, 31, of rural Seymour received that information Monday afternoon from Jackson Circuit Court Judge Richard W. Poynter.

Huntsinger received separate nine-year sentences on Level 3 felony counts of battery involving serious bodily injury to a person under the age of 14 and neglect of a dependent resulting in serious injury. Those sentences are to be served at the same time.

Poynter also sentenced Huntsinger to one-year sentences on each of the three counts of simple neglect, a Level 6 felony. Those sentences are to be served concurrently and at the same time as the first sentences.

Five years of the sentence also was suspended, meaning Huntsinger could serve as many as four years. He will have to serve at least 75 percent or three of the remaining four years, according to state law.

The charges against Huntsinger stem from an incident in which the child sustained injuries, according to court documents.

The infant was taken to Schneck Medical Center’s emergency room Feb. 22, 2016, by the parents for unknown medical reasons, according to a two-month investigation by the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department.

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 in his report the caseworker had spoken with Huntsinger, who said the child was sitting in a bouncy seat. Huntsinger said 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.

Huntsinger surrendered to police April 20, 2016.

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