Man, 21, charged in toddler's beatings
By KATHERINE GAZELLA
© St. Petersburg Times,
TARPON SPRINGS -- Police charged a man Friday with beating his girlfriend's 2-year-old son so badly that the toddler remained in the hospital Friday with life-threatening injuries.
Timothy Allen Walter, 21, faces charges of aggravated battery on a child and child abuse for the extensive injuries to Jordan Ebersberger. Police said Walter, who is not the child's father, is responsible for damage to the boy's spleen and liver, hemorrhages in his eyes and ears, as well as swelling in his brain.
"Our investigation does not indicate anyone else is responsible for the trauma to the child," said Sgt. Allen MacKenzie of the Tarpon Springs Police Department. "The pattern was that every time he was left alone with the child, a new injury was observed."
Police said the boy's mother, 18-year-old Brandi Ebersberger, left her son in Walter's care several times in the past week. Each time she returned, she observed red marks, bruises or cuts on his chest or face, police said.
MacKenzie described the battery as "excessive punishment." All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg would not release the boy's condition Friday, but MacKenzie said he was in very serious condition.
"The prognosis is not good," he said. "There are several (injuries) that alone are life-threatening."
Walter told police he played a game called "slap boxing" and struck the boy in the face several times, according to an arrest report. Walter said he struck the boy in the back of the head and caused him to fall into a bedpost, the arrest report said.
Another time, he told police, he struck the toddler after the boy cursed at him. Walter told police he may have struck the toddler "too hard," the report said.
He said he takes full responsibility for what happened and that the mother did not do anything, the arrest report said.
MacKenzie said the case is still under investigation.
Walter divided his time between his mother's house in Holiday and Ebersberger's place at 1404 Highland Ave. S in Tarpon Springs, MacKenzie said. His arrest report says he is a dishwasher at Louis Pappas Riverside Restaurant.
On Thursday night, police spoke with 56-year-old Paul Edwards, who owns the house where Ebersberger lives. He was not involved in the abuse in any way, MacKenzie said.
Ebersberger and Walter have a 2-month-old girl, who was placed in state custody, MacKenzie said. She did not appear to be injured, he said.
Police do not know who Jordan Ebersberger's father is, MacKenzie said. He said there is an ongoing court case to try to determine paternity.
Neither Ebersberger nor other relatives could be reached for comment Friday.
Walter was being held at the Pinellas County Jail without bail. In addition to the child abuse charges, he faces a charge of violating his probation on a grand theft case from Pasco County.
- Staff writer Katherine Gazella can be reached at (727) 445-4182 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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