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Salem father accused of fracturing skull of crying 3-month-old baby

Union Leader Correspondent

August 17. 2018 9:06PM


BRENTWOOD — A Salem father is facing assault charges after his 3-month-old boy suffered a skull fracture and other injuries.

Lucas Cook, 24, of 16 Oakridge Ave., Apt. 8, was indicted this month on one count of first-degree assault and two counts of second-degree assault.

He is accused of striking the baby’s head on a changing table, tossing him onto a bed, and throwing a toy at his head.

According to a police affidavit, Cook admitted to assaulting the crying baby on May 20 because he was “stressed about family issues.”

Police began investigating on May 22 after Salem detectives were called to Elliot Hospital in Manchester when the 3-month-old baby was found to have suffered a skull fracture and a broken leg.

A doctor told police the baby was admitted by his mother, Deanna Bergeron. During examination and testing, doctors determined that, in addition to the fractures, the baby also had “noticeable bruising on the left shoulder and left side of the baby’s head,” police said.

Bergeron told police that Cook, her boyfriend, was home with the baby on May 20 and that earlier in the morning his mother was hospitalized after suffering a suspected heart attack.

Bergeron said that when she returned home from work she noticed the baby wasn’t moving his left leg and had bruises on his head. She said she mentioned the concerns to Cook, who agreed that “it was not the baby’s normal movement,” police said.

On May 22, the baby was brought to his pediatrician, who instructed Bergeron to take him to Elliot Hospital’s emergency room.

During an interview with detectives, Cook said he was awakened by his son’s cries from a bedroom while he was watching him May 20.

Police said Cook told them he forcefully grabbed the baby’s left ankle with his left hand, then swung the boy toward the crib next to the bed. During the maneuver, police said, Cook said the baby struck his head against the plastic frame of the changing table.

Cook told police he changed the baby’s diaper, and when the boy continued to cry, Cook grabbed him by his upper arm and shoulder area and threw him back on the bed.

Police said Cook admitted that as the crying continued, he threw a baby toy with a hard plastic top that hit the baby in the head.

Cook explained “the reason this happened is because he was stressed about family issues,” police said.

Cook is being held in the Rockingham County jail on $5,000 cash bail.

He is scheduled to be arraigned on the assault charge Sept. 17 in Rockingham County Superior Court, but a plea and sentencing hearing is scheduled the same day as a judge indicated that a plea agreement is likely, court paperwork shows.

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