A four-year-old boy clings to life in a hospital after a former deputy sheriff brutally attacked him. The toddler suffered a severe brain injury, seven fractured ribs, and tears in his bowel and intestine.
Michael Abo, 34, is the man accused of attacking the child, his girlfriend’s son, on New Year’s Eve in Yamhill County, Oregon. Abo facing assault and criminal mistreatment charges following a grand jury indictment, according to CBS affiliate KOIN. He denies attacking the toddler and told the police his injuries came after the boy fell from a stairwell in Abo’s house.
The police responding to a 911 call, 50 miles outside of Portland, found the boy at death’s door. His injuries were so severe that emergency crews medivaced him to the nearest hospital, where he is listed in critical condition.
When Abo was questioned by police at the hospital, he said he had seen the boy jumping up and down on a stairwell before. He further claimed that after he had gone into his bedroom, he heard a thump, and came out again to find the child on his back at the bottom of the stairwell.
Hospital officials told police the toddler’s injuries were likely caused by blunt force trauma and were inconsistent with falling from a stairwell. There were prior incidents on two different dates in which Abo caused “serious physical injury,” according to an affidavit obtained by KOIN
In 2008, Abo began working for the Yamhill County sheriff’s department. He was fired in 2012 for an “internal personnel issue.” In 2013, he became a reserve officer for the Yamhill police department but hasn’t worked since Aug.
The child’s mother reportedly told police she had moved into Abo’s house in December. Soon after she started living with him, she noticed a change in the toddler’s behavior that included his biting his fingers. She claims that she never saw any bruises on the boy because Abo wouldn’t allow her to bathe with him or clothe him. However, she did notice a bruise on her son’s arm but Abo told her it came while he was “teaching the boy how to wrestle.”
McMinnville Police Capt. Matt Scales told KOIN:
It’s difficult in that to see a young child who is essentially defenseless hurt in the manner that this young boy was hurt. We want to have the person that’s responsible for this held accountable.
The report says Abo is currently in jail in neighboring Washington County because of his ties to Yamhill County law enforcement.
When Abo was arraigned on Jan. 13, in a video appearance, he was said to be “visibly distraught” but didn’t enter a plea. He is being held on $500,000 bond.