Parents say babysitter to blame for 5-month-old’s injuries


NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The parents of a 5-month-old girl say a babysitter is to blame for their daughter’s injuries.

Detectives from Norfolk’s Special Crimes Unit are now investigating the incident.

On Wednesday, Norfolk police say Child Protective Services contacted detectives about facial injuries found on a baby during an ER visit at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters (CHKD).

Photos shared by the family show significant bruising on the baby’s forehead, but the child’s mother, Breauna Palmer, says she doesn’t have any broken bones or brain injuries.

Palmer tells 10 On Your Side her babysitter Facebook messaged her Wednesday evening, saying she needed to pick up baby Harper.

She says the babysitter explained that in the process of trying to spank her own son, she accidentally hit the five month old. 

Palmer says when she arrived to pick up her daughter, her face was bruised and one of her eyes was nearly swollen shut. She immediately took her to CHKD.

“I’m thinking a spanking on a three-year-old will leave a little mark on Harper that will go away. I mean I walked into a bruised and purple swollen face on my five-month-old; that’s not at all what I expected. I didn’t know how to react, what to say,” said Palmer.

Police say detectives from the Special Crimes Unit were contacted by Child Protective Services about the injuries found on the baby during the hospital visit.

Officials couldn’t give a lot of details since it’s an active investigation, but did confirm it happened at the sitter’s home, which is in military housing, while the baby was in her custody. 

Palmer says she doesn’t buy the sitter’s story, especially after another version surfaced. 

A screen shot of a social media message from the sitter alleged she meant to punch the couch, but admits it landed on Harper instead.

It read in part: “I felt I needed to get my anger out some way and not take it out on any of the kids so I tried punching the couch and didn’t realize how close I had got to her and before I knew it I had got her instead.”

10 On Your Side knocked on the babysitter’s door to see if she’d comment but no one answered. 

Palmer says the sitter had been watching her baby for nearly three months before this happened. 

She wants this story to be a warning for other parents. 

“Just because someone is military affiliated, just because they come with references, just because they have experience, it doesn’t make them safe,” she explained. 

At this time, charges have not been filed. Harper’s parents went to a child abuse center on Thursday to meet with a specialist there for help figuring out what charges were appropriate.

Stay with WAVY for updates.

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