SANTAQUIN, Utah, May 23, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A 27-year-old Santaquin man has been arrested on a charge of second-degree felony child abuse with the intention to inflict serious physical injury after officials said his infant son suffered life-threatening injuries.
Gaven Mecham Beckstrom is accused of violently shaking his 4-week-old son, according to a statement of probable cause. Beckstrom was booked into Utah County Jail on a $7,500 cash-only bail.
According to the statement, Santaquin Police began investigating the child abuse case March 20 after the infant was taken to Primary Children’s Hospital. A medical examination revealed the infant had bruises, a non-displaced rib fracture, multiple leg fractures, and was also having recurrent seizures.
Beckstrom and the baby’s mother told police the mother was napping and the infant was in his father’s care on that day, the statement said.
Beckstrom initially told Santaquin police he left the infant on the couch before going to work in his garage. When he came back inside, Beckstrom told police he found the infant face down on the floor beside the couch, crying.
The parents police they assumed their 3-year-old daughter had tried to pick up the baby and accidentally dropped him or that the infant had fallen from the couch.
The parents also told police Beckstrom had low blood sugar and could not recall what happened while the children were in his care.
The statement said medical professionals at Primary Children’s Hospital determined the injuries to the child were not consistent with the parent’s initial account of a fall or a drop. The doctors said the baby’s injuries could only have occurred as the result of “intense holding, grabbing, yanking, squeezing, twisting and/or shaking, something a 3-year-old sister would have been incapable of committing.”
In a subsequent interview with police, authorities said Beckstrom, “admitted to harming the infant and demonstrated how he physically handled the infant,” the statement said.
Beckstrom said he had been trying to help the baby burp before leaving him on the couch. “In reenacting this using a doll he was admittedly ‘quicker and rougher that usual’ with manipulating the victim’s body without supporting his neck/head,” the statement said.