By EILEEN MCCLORY
A doctor who specializes in child abuse pediatrics testified Thursday that in his professional opinion, 2-year-old Breydon Ferrell died of abuse.
“I think someone grabbed him and slammed him against something hard and in the process, broke his head and his leg,” said Dr. Randall S. Schlievert, a specialist in child abuse pediatrics at St. Vincent Medical Center, Toledo.
Schlievert testified during the murder trial of Brent Houdeshell, a 29-year-old Arlington man accused of killing Breydon, the son of Houdeshell’s former fiancee Alisha Young, on March 31, 2016, at a Findlay apartment.
Houdeshell was watching Breydon and called 911 at about 9 p.m. that night. Police said Houdeshell told them the child had fallen out of his crib.
Schlievert said his conclusion about Breydon’s death came from the extent and location of the boy’s injuries. An injury on the child’s face was in the shape of a hand print slap, he said, and falls from hitting a table or a floor would likely not have resulted in injuries all around the head, as Breydon had.
Schlievert said skull fractures similar to the ones Breydon had are found only at homicides or in fatal car accidents.
He also said Houdeshell’s conflicting statements to police were indicative of a possible attempt to cover up child abuse.
Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a pathologist and deputy coroner from the Lucas County Coroner’s Office, testified Thursday that the injuries Breydon suffered on the night of March 31, 2016, did not match the sequence of events that Houdeshell described to police.
Beisser, who completed the boy’s autopsy, said there were injuries to the child’s face, head, back, legs and feet, including a broken left leg and a bruise on the back of the child’s head.
Beisser said the injury to the back of the child’s head was what caused his death. She said the injury was consistent with head injuries that adults suffer from car accidents or from falling six to seven stories.
Beisser testified that she would not expect the extent of the trauma Breydon suffered to come from a fall out of a crib.
“A child with this kind of contusion would be unconscious,” Beisser said, referring to the bruise on the back of Breydon’s head.
She said Breydon would not have been able to walk, talk, eat, or do any other activities after the injury.
Houdeshell told police he gave Breydon ice cream and washed him off after finding him out of his crib.
Beisser also said she would expect the injuries that Breydon suffered to look different if he had, as Houdeshell told police, hit a desk near his crib during his fall. She said she would have expected a cut or laceration on the child’s skull if he had hit the desk, instead of the bruise she saw.
She testified that she ruled the manner of death a homicide.
“The history as given didn’t go along with the injury,” Beisser said of her ruling. “In those circumstances, it was consistent with abuse.”
Findlay police detective Kurt Necker also testified Thursday. Necker, with other detectives, investigated Breydon’s death.
Necker and detective Kevin Spieker interviewed Houdeshell on April 2, 2016, and on April 15, 2016.
Houdeshell told police that he went to Breydon’s room on March 31, 2016, and found the child had fallen out of his crib. The boy was dangling from the crib by his left foot, with his head near a desk that was close to the bed, Houdeshell said.
Houdeshell told the detectives he realized that Breydon had vomited, so he washed him to clean him up, changed his clothes, gave the boy some ice cream, and put him back to bed in an older brother’s bed, which was unoccupied and closer to the ground.
Houdeshell said when he checked on Breydon again, the boy was unresponsive, so he called 911.
In the April 2 interview, Houdeshell gave varying accounts of what occurred on March 31, 2016.
Prosecutors played part of the recording in the courtroom on Thursday.
Houdeshell said he washed the child in a shower, and in a bath. Houdeshell also denied in the interview that he was angry with Young, though he earlier told police he believed Young may have been cheating on him while he was in jail on a charge of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Addressing Houdeshell’s claim that he found the boy dangling from his crib, Police Lt. Robert Ring, who is in charge of the detective division, testified Thursday that the boy’s foot was small enough that it would have fit between the slats of the crib.
Prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case today. The trial resumes at 10 a.m.