KILL DEVIL HILLS, N.C. (WAVY) - Police in Kill Devil Hills are investigating a case of child abuse involving a 13-month-old boy. Two arrests in the case were made Thursday.
Investigators say a parent took the boy to the Outer Banks Hospital Tuesday. The injuries were so serious the boy was immediately transported by helicopter to Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, where he remains in critical condition.
18-year-old Jessica Atkins, the boy’s mother, and 23-year-old Jesse James, a friend of Atkins, were arrested. They are both charged with felony child abuse.
Friday, bond was set at $40,000 for Atkins and $70,000 for James.
The child's grandmother says the allegations are the result of a misunderstanding. She spoke to WAVY.com on the phone Wednesday.
The grandmother says the boy suffers from a medical condition that causes him to bruise easily. She says the boy fell face first on the floor last week and suffered a concussion. At the time, the mother took the boy to the hospital to be examined by doctors, according to the grandmother.
The grandmother says the boy started having a seizure Tuesday, which is why his mother brought him to the hospital.
In court Friday, prosecutors said the boy had to have surgery to remove a piece of his skull. They claimed the boy was so shaken, hospital staff could not perform an MRI.
Neighbors in the family's Outer Banks neighborhood say the heavy police presence made them wonder what had happened.
"They always patrol the area. I always feel very safe here," said one resident. "But that was very unusual. I knew that something had to be bad."
It is not clear if the child will survive.
"I hope he makes it through," said another neighbor.
Police said additional charges are possible as the investigation continues.
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