A couple in North Carolina are in jail after allegedly abusing their newborn daughter.
According to The Wilson Times, 23-year old Virgina Kientz and her 24-year-old boyfriend, Zachary Foley were arrested and charged with felony child abuse on April 18. They are both being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
Wilson County Sheriff’s Office Chief of Staff Wanda Samuel indicated that couple’s daughter was less than 2 weeks old when she sustained a number of serious injuries, including multiple rib fractures, a broken leg, a spiral arm fracture, retinal bleeding and bruising. She also had seizures.
Kientz eventually brought the infant to the hospital, saying she had a fever. That’s when medical staff discovered the injuries and called police.
The baby was transferred to another hospital where she was treated for her injuries. She has since been discharged and is in the custody of the Wilson County Department of Social Services.
The investigation into the alleged abuse is ongoing.
Foley has a criminal record. In June 2015, he was convicted of second-degree burglary and felony breaking and entering of a vehicle, according to records obtained from the North Carolina Department of Public Safety Division of Adult Correction.
He was also convicted in May 2015 of obtaining property by false pretense, another felony. In April 2014, he was convicted of misdemeanor possession of stolen goods.
Under North Carolina law, child abuse is defined as “as inflicting, or permitting to be inflicted, or creating a substantial risk of injury, other than by accident,” according to Find Law. To cover as many forms of physical abuse as possible, injury is not specifically defined.
The law stipulates that a person must report child abuse to the authorities if he or she has reason to suspect such abuse is taking place. Failure to do so is a crime.
According to the National Children’s Alliance, around 700,000 children are abused every year in the U.S., with neglect being the most common form of maltreatment. Children under the age of 1 year old are most likely to be abused, with a victimization rate of 24.2 per 1,000 children.
Child protection service agencies investigate the cases of around 3 million children each year in the U.S.
The alliance notes that in 4 out of 5 cases, one or both parents are responsible for the abuse, and around 90 percent of the time the abuser is a relative of the child.
In 2015, approximately 1,670 children died from abuse and neglect in the U.S.