Newly released court documents are giving new details in what may have led up to the death of an infant back in August 2018.
Erik Sherman, 33, was arrested and charged with homicide by abuse and second-degree murder. His bond was originally set at $1 million but it is now down to $500,000 as of Tuesday.
Court documents reveal that Sherman and the mother of the 20-day old infant noticed injuries to their baby but waited days to take him to see a doctor.
On August 7, a baby arrived at the Holy Family Hospital ER not breathing and unresponsive. He had a temperature of 92 degrees and was covered in bruises. The baby’s mother and Sherman brought him to the hospital.
Doctors at Holy Family were able to get the infant to breathe again but they decided he needed to be airlifted from Holy Family to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital due to his life-threatening injuries, according to court documents.
Later that day, 911 received a call from nursing staff at Sacred Heart. They said a 20-day-old baby had arrived at the emergency room unresponsive and not breathing. Doctors said the child had bruises on his face and butt, according to court documents. They also believed he had a right clavicle fracture and possibly a displaced hip.
A doctor at Sacred Heart later said the baby had bruising to his face, butt, back, stomach and genitals, along with a massive internal brain injury, according to court documents. After a CT scan was completed, doctors determined that the child had no brain activity. Due to the extent of his injuries, doctors believed there was no chance the child would survive, according to court documents.
The doctor at Sacred Heart said there was no possible accidental or natural cause for the child’s injuries and described it as “one of the worst child abuse cases he had seen in his 23 years of practice,” according to court documents. The baby’s injuries were documented with photographs.
Both parents told police the child had never been left alone with anyone else and admitted it was not possible that anyone else could have injured their child, according to court documents.
Sherman said he woke up early on Aug. 5 to the sound of the child fussing when the baby’s mother was still asleep. He said he fed the child a bottle and tried to comfort him, according to court documents.
Eventually, Sherman and his son ended up in the bathroom. He said his son’s head suddenly and unexpectedly rocked forward and hit his shoulder, according to court documents. He then said the force of this caused the child to begin bleeding from his mouth.
According to court documents, Sherman admitted that the child was badly bleeding and that he ended up with blood all over his shoulder.
Sherman said he noticed a bruise on the baby’s forehead and bleeding from the area where the upper lip connects to the gums, according to court documents. A police officer pointed out that these two injuries would not have happened at the same time and that a bruise would not immediately appear as soon as the child hit his head, according to court documents.
Sherman insisted that he had never seen the bruise on the child’s head before and that this was the only incident that occurred, according to court documents.
According to court documents, the baby’s mother said she got up and heard the baby crying. She found Sherman and the baby in the bathroom with the door partially closed. She saw that her son was bleeding heavily from the mouth and that Sherman had blood all over his left shoulder, but did not see the actual incident, according to court documents.
The baby’s mother said she saw the injury to the baby’s mouth but did not see any bruising on his chin, according to court documents. She said she did see the bruise under his chin and assumed this happened at the same time.
Both Sherman and the baby’s mother admitted the baby had not been able to drink from a bottle or breastfeed since the incident. They claimed they would drip milk into the baby’s mouth by holding a bottle over him, according to court documents.
Both parents claimed they thought he was getting enough nourishment, though he was not eating as much as he had been prior to the incident, according to court documents.
According to court documents, the baby’s mother said she was extremely concerned about the injury, but neither she nor Sherman sought medical help for the child or called a doctor for advice. The baby’s mother admitted they never left the house until they rushed the baby to the hospital when he quit breathing.
The baby’s mother claimed she only stayed home to help the child recover rather than hide his injuries, according to court documents.
According to court documents, both parents said the only thing they did to help their child was to check the internet for possible medical diagnoses. They said the internet told them the injury was relatively minor and that it would heal quickly, which is why they did not take their son to the doctor.
Both parents admitted to noticing a blister on the infant’s genitals and claimed they did not know what caused it, according to court documents. They admitted to searching the internet for ways to treat this but never contacted a medical professional for either injury.
According to court documents, both parents claimed they had never noticed their son’s extensive bruising or injuries. They also said they regularly bathed the child and changed his diaper.
According to court documents, both parents adamantly denied they were responsible for the child’s injuries and did not see their partner injure the child.
Both parents claimed they were planning to bring their child to the hospital on Aug. 7 but he stopped breathing before they were able to leave the house or call anyone, according to court documents. His mother said they decided to bring the baby to the hospital because he was making “different sounds” and his eyes suddenly became crossed. She also said that “his face got tight.”
According to court documents, the baby’s mother told Sherman about this. A short time later, Sherman was “burping” the infant out of her sight. The next thing she knew was that he was splashing water on the baby’s face and saying he wasn’t breathing, according to court documents.
Sherman told police the baby suddenly “took a weird breath and wasn’t breathing” while he was feeding him, according to court documents. Sherman said he splashed water on the baby’s face and that the couple rushed the baby to the hospital when he didn’t respond.
Spokane Police seized the parents’ cell phones as evidence, according to court documents. A search warrant was also requested and received for their residence, which uncovered a crib with vomit in it, a bloody rag and a Onesie with an unknown substance on it, according to court documents.
Police also found photos and videos of the child on the parents’ cell phones, according to court documents. It was apparent the baby did not have injuries on his head or face prior to Aug. 4. Numerous bruises and scratches can be seen on the baby’s head and face from photos on Aug. 5.
According to court documents, the baby’s mother also took four videos of the baby on Aug. 7 before going to the hospital. In the videos, the baby’s eyes are completely dilated, and bruises can be seen on his head and face. He did not appear to be conscious in the video. At one point, the baby appeared to be trying to cry but couldn’t.
According to court documents, Sherman sent the baby’s mother a text message in July where he said he would “never do anything to hurt the child.” The baby’s mother sent a text back that said “his face is still red from when u left.”
On Aug. 6, the baby’s mother sent numerous texts saying the baby was unresponsive, had no interest in food and that she wanted to take him to the doctor, according to court documents. She also said he was a “weird temperature.” Sherman refused and said the baby needed food and “a warm rag on his head,” according to court documents.
The baby’s mother replied with, “I really think he needs to go in I’m worried,” according to court documents. The couple did not take the baby to the hospital until the next day.
Court documents said detectives made several attempts to contact Sherman but they were unable to talk to him. They eventually got an arrest warrant for Sherman to charge him with homicide by abuse. Officers were able to locate his car and conduct a traffic stop. He was later arrested.
Court documents said a cell phone and methamphetamine were found in his car.
The baby's mother has not been arrested or charged with a crime.