Vernal foster father charged after 8-month-old boy diagnosed with brain trauma injury

Uintah County Sheriff’s Office vehicle. Photo: UCSO

VERNAL, Utah, Dec. 19, 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — The foster father of an 8-month-old boy has been booked into the Uintah County jail after the infant was found to have a major brain trauma injury.

Skyler Cox, 37, of Vernal, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of aggravated child abuse, intentionally or knowingly, a second-degree felony.

Deputies were called to a residence on a report of a baby reportedly in cardiac arrest after being bathed.

“The foster parents began CPR prior to deputies and EMTs arriving on the scene, who then took over life-saving measures,” says a probable cause statement filed in Cox’s arrest by an officer of the Uintah County Sheriff’s Office.

The infant was transported to Ashley Regional Medical Center for treatment. An emergency physician department there informed the police there were “concerning neurological indications that could suggest (the baby boy) had been possibly abused, and the timeline given did not appear to match.”

Skyler Cox, rather than his wife, had been the baby’s primary caregiver for the previous few days, “so he was questioned separately about the incidents leading up to the call for medical assistance,” the statement says.

“Skyler stated that (the baby) had been sick for a couple of days, but then stated that (the baby) had only been sick since yesterday. Skyler stated that he had given (the infant) some children’s Tylenol, though the thermometer indicated that there was no fever.”

Cox said the baby had thrown up on him after being fed some baby food, and “admitted to detectives that (the baby) cries a lot and this causes him to get frustrated with him (the baby) at times.

“Skyler admitted that after he had taken (the baby) out of the bath before he had shaken and then tossed the baby on the bed due to being frustrated about him crying, but was unsure how (the baby) had landed on the bed or if the baby had bounced at all and was not sure if (the baby) had hit his head on the wall.”

Cox said after he “tossed” the baby on the bed, Cox “then immediately left the room and only returned when he could no longer hear the baby making any noise which caused him to become concerned.”

After Cox noticed the baby “was unresponsive, he took him into the shower to wake him up but this ultimately failed so he then yelled for (his wife) to call 911.”

Cox told officers things had been “foggy” at first, but he “realized he was the one that caused the baby’s medical incident after he had spoken about shaking, and throwing (the child),” the deputy’s statement says.

“A CT scan was later performed on (the baby), and preliminary reports indicated evidence of major trauma (brain bleed).”

The probable cause statement filed Wednesday said the baby “is possibly being transported out of the area to a trauma hospital to better treat his life-threatening medical issues.”

Cox is being held without bail.

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