St. Charles County amends child abuse charges after child passes away

(Credit: KMOV).

News 4 has learned more about the child abuse charges 19-year old Robert Burnette and 20-year old Megan Hendricks are facing in St. Charles County. The two are charged with abuse of a child and endangering the welfare of a child in connection to the child abuse of their 6-week-old son.

The investigation began after Burnette allegedly stuck his fingers down the baby’s throat to stop him from crying. The alleged abuse took place between October 18 and November 7. New court documents revealed the child (who is identified in court documents only by his initials “J.B.”) went to the hospital for the incident and while there doctors found prior injuries from abuse.

St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Lohmar said the doctors found evidence of broken bones and internal bleeding.

The boy was removed from life support and pronounced dead Nov. 28.

“It’s a horrific case,” Lohmar said. “Obviously the (charges) will change if the child does in fact pass away. But right now it’s a very awful child abuse charge – no question.”

Both parents will make their initial court appearance in St. Charles County on Tuesday.

“If you look at what he’s accused of, if (Burnett) did that I don’t see how anyone who is normal could do something like that.”

“If this evidence is proven to be true they are completely incapable of parenting this child,” Lohmar said. “The sad part is there are lots of resources in the community that are available.”

St. Louis Crisis Nursery is one of the many area organizations that offer resources to parents and families. The nursery helps children from birth all the way until age 12. CEO DiAnne Mueller says cases like this one in Wentzville are a prime example of why they do what they do for a living.

“It breaks my heart every time something like this happens and it seems like it’s happening more and more. We really need the community’s help,” Mueller said.

Mueller said the moment a parent finds out they are going to be a parent, it is critical to make a decision that you will never hurt that child no matter what. Mueller also stressed that it is important for new parents to know that babies crying is normal because that is how they communicate.

“If it starts to get on your nerves what you need to do is place the baby somewhere safe and walk away. It’s okay to walk away and take a break. Count to ten. Call somebody.

“If you don’t have somebody to call then call the St. Louis Crisis Nursery. Do not hurt that baby. That is unacceptable,” Mueller said.

The St. Louis Crisis Nursery is holding “Nursery Night at Napoli” this Thursday November 17 from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m. at Bar Napoli in Clayton.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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