A Tippecanoe teen is currently lodged in the Marshall County Jail for Attempted Murder, Neglect of a Dependent, and Aggravated Battery.
On Tuesday, March 21st Detective Jonathan Bryant with the Marshall County Sheriff’s Department received a complaint from the Indiana Department of Child Services for a possible child abuse case that occurred at 20990 Chestnut Road in Tippecanoe. The DCS report said a 4-month-old female was admitted to Woodlawn Hospital on March 20th for general discomfort, being transported by her parents who are both juveniles.
After being seen at the Fulton County Hospital the infant was transported to Riley’s Children’s Hospital. Multiple compression rib fractures on both sides of the infant’s body appeared to be in the process of healing and there was a sternum fracture. Doctors documented new cervical fractures and soft tissue injuries. They also found several prior sentinel injuries which are medically mild, superficial injuries that occur in young and developmentally immature infants who cannot hurt themselves such as bruising and subconjunctival hemorrhages.
Detective Bryant interviewed the infant’s father, 17-year-old Jacob Kats at Riley’s. Since Jacob is a minor, his father was in attendance during the initial interview. Jacob initially denied any knowledge of how the baby was injured although he did say the baby fell off the bed which may have broken the ribs he said the baby began to fall out of his arms on the stairs and he grabbed her and may have hurt her neck.
Jacob Kats asked to speak to the detective without his father present and became emotional saying he “battled anger issues for a long time. He said he was frustrated because the baby cried constantly and would squeeze her under the armpits with both hands. He attributed the fractured sternum to placing his thumbs on her chest and squeezing her. Jacob said the neck injury occurred after a verbal altercation with a student at school which upset him. Although he attempted to wait and calm down the baby was “crying a lot” and wouldn’t stop. He said he “panicked” and put his hands around the infant’s throat and pinned her to his bed while he squeezed her neck until she lost consciousness. Then he put her in a pack-and-play and went downstairs. He knew she was still alive because she was breathing. He hoped she would calm down and sleep for a couple of hours.
Marshall County’s Chief Deputy Prosecutor Tami Napier explained how the juvenile’s name could be shared with the media. She said, “Because he (Jacob Kats is only 17) he was charged with Attempted Murder it is what we call a “direct file,” meaning that because he’s being charged with that offense (or one of the others listed in the Indiana Code site), and he’s between 16-years-of-age to 18-years-of-age it gets filed directly into adult court. (IN Code 31-30-1-4)
Jacob Kats had his initial hearing in Marshall Superior Court I Tuesday morning.