CRESTVIEW — A 44-year-old man has been charged with felony child cruelty after a toddler in his car was brought to the emergency room with deep facial bruising.
According to his Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office arrest report, it was not clear what the relationship was between the man and the child.
The child was taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center in Niceville for an examination, where doctors found bruises on the child’s left cheek in a “fingerprint pattern” that extended up into the child’s hairline. Bruising on his right cheek took up much of surface area, according to the man’s arrest report.
The suspect and his wife told deputies that the bruising could have been self-inflicted by a sippy cup or that the toddler might have been injured by a sibling hitting him with a baseball bat.
A break came in the case when a wiretap on the suspect for an unrelated investigation recorded a conversation in which the suspect and his wife discuss various scenarios for explaining the child’s injuries.
“Ya know, pound for pound, those bruises on (victim’s) face, they’re 110 percent my fault,” he tells his wife on the wiretap, according to his OCSO arrest report.
He also told her he’d like to slap the (expletive) out of another baby in front of them so they could compare the bruises.