Official: Parents said injured boy fell off the toilet
By CRAIG KAPITAN
Eagle Staff Writer
The mother and stepfather of a 4-year-old boy found unconscious at a College Station apartment last week originally told authorities the boy had fallen off the toilet, a Child Protective Services official told a judge Wednesday.
The boy — who suffered traumatic brain injuries, internal abdominal injuries, bruising and at least one broken bone — remained in critical condition at an Austin hospital this week.
“ At this point, he’s not able to breathe on his own,” said Shonda Whetstone, who oversees the investigative unit of the local CPS agency. “He’s not aware of his surroundings. He’s still in ... a life-threatening condition.
“ The explanation for the injuries was not consistent with the child falling off the toilet.”
The boy’s 26-year-old stepfather, Timothy Lewis, is in the Brazos County Jail on a charge of injury to a child, a first-degree felony punishable by up to 99 years or life in prison.
Whetstone met with the boy’s mother and attorneys Wednesday for a temporary custody hearing in front of Judge Van Stoval, who determined the boy’s two younger siblings should not be allowed to return to their parents for now.
CPS workers are not seeking removal of the 4-year-old at this time because he is at a secure place in the hospital, Whetstone said.
Two days after the boy suffered the injuries, his mother, Virginia Lewis, changed her story about the incident, Whetstone told the judge. She told CPS workers that Lewis was responsible for the injuries.
“ Stepdad would discipline the child in the past and take him upstairs,” Whetstone said, referring to the mother’s explanation. Virginia Lewis also said she would go upstairs and retrieve the boy if it sounded like he was being beaten.
Virginia Lewis declined to comment after the hearing. No charges have been filed against her.
A scan of the 4-year-old taken at the hospital showed evidence of past abuse as well, including fractures to a finger and a rib, according to CPS officials.
While the boy’s two siblings — 18 months old and 1 month old — will remain in protective custody for now, the agency plans to work with Virginia Lewis to set up visits and possibly place the children with a family member, Whetstone said.
The two have been temporarily placed in separate foster homes. Neither of the siblings — who, unlike the 4-year-old, are Timothy Lewis’ biological children — showed marks or bruising, she said.
But it still seems important to separate them from the home, Whetstone said.
“ These two younger children are completely helpless,” she said.
Judge Stoval is expected to reconvene the custody hearing Aug. 11. A trial date for Timothy Lewis’ criminal charge has not been set.
• Craig Kapitan’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.