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Baby's 13 fractured ribs, other injuries lead to parents' arrest

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Posted at 12:13 PM, Mar 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-03-22 12:47:10-04

COVINGTON, Ky. – A Covington couple have been arrested and charged with abusing their baby after doctors discovered the boy had 13 fractured ribs and other disturbing injuries, according to police.

Police said Robert Rich Jr., 27, and Ashlee Hensley, 20, called 911 on March 15 and reported that their 2 1/2-month-old son was having a seizure. Doctors at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital said they found that the baby had a subdural hematoma, an orbital fracture to his left eye, and severe retinal hemorrhaging in addition to the broken ribs.

Rich, 27, and Hensley, 20, told police that the baby had been dropped from a few inches off the ground and also that his injuries may have been caused by a prior car accident.

But doctors at Children’s Hospital said the baby has been abused over time, according to police.

Police are investigating whether Rich and a relative of Hensley deleted phone conversations after the baby was taken the hospital.

A police investigator reported that the baby’s great grandmother, who cared for the baby at times, said the baby had a knot over his left eye in the two days before the parents made the 911 call. She said she confronted Rich about the injury and he said it was a broken blood vessel from crying. She said the baby  exhibited distress and she believed he was in pain.

The great grandmother said Rich had instructed her to give the baby NyQuil.

Police said they investigated phone records between Rich and one of Hensley’s family members who baby sat the boy on the day of the 911 call.  She told police the baby did not appear to be injured at that time, and other adults corroborated her story.

But police said they searched her phone under a warrant and it appeared conversations between her and Rich from the prior week had been deleted. A search warrant is being sought for Rich’s phone, police said.

Children’s Hospital doctors connected to the baby’s case reported that 13 rib fractures were in various stages of healing, and one was less than 10 days old. They also indicated the injury above the left eye was not a result of a broken blood vessel.

The doctors said the injuries were diagnostic of child abuse and not consistent with the trauma reported by the parents.

The baby is expected to have developmental delays as a result of the subdural hematoma and the injuries in this case, police said.

The parents, who live in the 2000 block of Russell Street,  have been the baby’s primary caregivers since birth, according to police.

Rich and Hensley were charged Wednesday with criminal abuse and assault and are being held in the Kenton County Jail on $10,000 cash bond.