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Man arrested on aggravated child abuse charge

By Times Staff Writer
Published May 18, 2004

SPRING HILL - A seven-week-old was clinging to life at a St. Petersburg hospital on Monday after a 29-year-old Spring Hill man violently shook her because she did not stop crying, authorities said.

Noel E. Martinez of 13781 Coronado Ave. was taken into custody at the Sheriff's Office about 10 p.m. Sunday and charged with aggravated child abuse, a first-degree felony that carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison.

Bail was withheld.

During questioning, Martinez told a detective that he grabbed and shook the baby because he could not stop her from crying. Martinez and an unidentified woman took the baby to Spring Hill Regional Hospital on Sunday because she was unresponsive, a sheriff's report said.

The baby was later flown to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, where doctors determined that she sustained severe brain damage. The trauma was consistent with shaken baby syndrome, which is a form of child abuse that occurs when a child is shaken and causes a loss of vision, seizures or death, according to the Florida Department of Health.

In many cases, the damage to a child's brain is irreparable.

Doctors said the victim suffered from "a significant brain injury," which will likely be irreversible brain damage, if the child survives, the report stated.

[Last modified May 17, 2004, 20:41:10]

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