Ionia DPS: Babysitter arrested for baby abuse

Mother: Baby Thomas sustained skull fractures after being thrown

Thomas, Ionia, baby abuse
Thomas, who sustained skull fractures after allegedly being thrown by his babysitter. (Undated courtesy photo)

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — Ionia police say they have arrested the woman who was caring for a baby boy last week when he sustained a serious head wound.

Early Thursday evening, according to the Ionia Department of Public Safety’s Facebook page, officers were called to a home on N. Jackson Street on a report of an injured infant. The caregiver allegedly said the baby, an 8-month-old named Thomas, had fallen and hit his head.

“Thomas was sitting on the floor playing with a toy and he fell back and hit his head. He hit his head really hard,” the boy’s mother, Rachel Pierson, said the babysitter, Autumn Skuse, initially told her.

Thomas was rushed to the hospital. Pierson said he has three skull fractures, a broken leg and injured ribs. Doctors told her his injuries were too severe for a fall like the one Skuse described to be the cause.

Ionia police said they investigated and got new information about the cause of Thomas’s injuries. A GoFundMe page run by Pierson says she was told the babysitter admitted to throwing Thomas.

According to images of a Facebook conversation that Pierson said was between her and Skuse after Thomas was admitted to the hospital, Skuse allegedly wrote, “I have some mental health issues and anger issues and that day i snapped and dropped him on the floor.”

Monday afternoon, Skuse, 30, was arrested on a charge of first-degree child abuse, police said. If convicted, she could spend the rest of her life in prison, police said.

Tuesday, Skuse was arraigned in Ionia County District Court on one count of first-degree child abuse. Her bond was set at $50,000. She is scheduled to be back in court on Aug. 22.

Mug shot of Autumn Skuse.
Mug shot of Autumn Skuse.

Skuse’s roommate, who asked not to be identified, said she never expected anything like this in their years of friendship.

“She’s always been our go-to babysitter for everything,” the roommate said. “All of her brothers and sisters have kids that she took care of. She was always that motherly hen.”

Pierson told 24 Hour News 8 she is disgusted and can’t believe she trusted Skuse with her son.

“I still can’t believe that she hurt him,” Pierson said. “We had no signs, no idea any of this was going on.”

She said she’s not sure she can trust anyone to look after her children.

She had strong words for Skuse:

“I wish you were dead. I mean every minute of that,” she said. “I hope she gets what’s coming for her. … I hope she gets what’s coming for her because she deserves all. She does. She deserves every second of torture that she caused my child.”

Thomas is currently in the hospital getting treatment for a brain bleed that has caused seizures, according to the GoFundMe page. If you would like to help cover his medical costs, you can donate at the GoFundMe account.

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