Father arrested on cruelty to juvenile charges after infant hospitalized with severe injuries


Shane Bennett (RPSO)

RAPIDES PARISH, La. (KLFY)- A 22-year-old Ball man is in custody after an infant was hospitalized with “significant unexplained injuries.”

According to the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office, on July 8, 2020, representatives of the Louisiana Department of Child and Family Services filed a complaint with RPSO in reference to allegations of child abuse.

 “Due to the extent of the injuries, the infant was stabilized and transported to a hospital in New Orleans for further treatment,” RPSO Chief of Staff Tommy Carnline said. 

Investigators identified Austin Bennett, the child’s father, as a suspect.

He was arrested on July 14 on two counts of domestic abuse battery severe bodily injury and two counts of second-degree cruelty to juveniles. Bennett was booked into the Rapides Parish Detention Center on a $70,000 bond.

“Sheriff Mark Wood would like to let everyone know the infant victim, in this case, has since been released from the hospital,” Carnline said in a statement. ” The infant is in a safe environment and being cared for by a state-approved foster family.” 

The Rapides Parish sheriff commended the “deputies, detectives, state agencies, medical staff and all involved for their diligence” and hours put into this investigation, as well as providing care for the victim, he said.

  “We are the protectors and the voice for our children. As I have said many times before the safety of our children is paramount and we will be vigilant in our enforcement,” the sheriff said.

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