Traverse City Record-Eagle

February 28, 2013

Traverse City child abuse case headed to Circuit Court

BY ANGIE JACKSON
ajackson@record-eagle.com

---- — TRAVERSE CITY — A Traverse City man accused of scalding an infant’s face with water now faces trial on charges that could land him in prison for life.

A district court judge on Wednesday ruled that Robert Allen Floyd, 24, should stand trial in 13th Circuit Court on charges of first-degree child abuse, third-degree child abuse and lying to a police officer.

Floyd initially was charged with second-degree child abuse after police went to Munson Medical Center on Dec. 22 on report of an infant with second-degree burns to his face. The child suffered burns to 8 percent of his body and was transferred to University of Michigan for treatment.

The injuries occurred while the 4-month-old was in Floyd’s care and the child’s mother, Floyd’s fiancée, was at work.

Floyd told officers the child spit up baby formula and he took him to the kitchen sink and rinsed his face with a faucet sprayer. An evidence technician determined the spout water temperature was 131-133 degrees.

A detective testified during a preliminary examination before 86th District Court Judge Michael Haley that Floyd told three different accounts of what happened at the kitchen sink.

The child’s mother, Mariah Lavanway, said Floyd called her at work and she went home to find him “crying hysterically” in the kitchen and the baby in the bedroom. The couple went to Munson, where she said she learned for the first time how Floyd had sprayed the baby in the face.

“I didn’t understand it until I actually got to the hospital and he was telling the nurses what happened ... all I knew is it was a burn to the face,” she said in court. “That night is so foggy and I was so upset.”

Haley said it appeared Lavanway “doesn’t want to remember the whole story.”

Medical professionals testified that Floyd’s accounts aren’t consistent with the child’s injuries. It appeared the child’s face had been placed into scalding liquid, not sprayed with it, they said.

Lisa Markman, associate medical director of the University of Michigan Health System’s child protection team, saw the child on Dec. 23 and said the burn covered the infant’s face from the forehead to the middle of his chin, “almost like a face mask.”

Medical personnel also located abrasions and bruises on the child’s buttocks and three healing rib fractures.

Brian Lishawa, a hospitalist at Munson Medical Center who works as a pediatric consultant in the emergency room, testified Floyd told him he brought the child to the shower after spraying him with water and accidentally dropped him. Lishawa said that story doesn’t match up with the injuries to the child’s buttocks.

Lavanway told medical personnel she wasn’t aware of any injuries to the baby when she left for work.

Floyd remains out on bond.

His attorney and Lavanway both declined to comment.