AMERICAN FORK, Utah, July 15, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — An American Fork father has been charged with the alleged abuse of his 4-week-old daughter.
A probable cause statement from Utah County said Ronald Lincoln Gifford, 23, is facing two charges of child abuse, a second-degree felony.
On July 11, officers with the American Fork Police Department were dispatched to make contact with a Department of Child and Family Services case worker, the statement said. The case worker reported the infant was taken to the American Fork hospital by her father, Gifford, related to a “clicking” in her shoulder, apparent sensitivity to pain and irregular bowel movements, the statement said. Doctors found what they believed to be signs of physical abuse, and the infant was transferred to Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City.
The arresting officer met with the mother of the child at Primary Children’s.
“The mother explained the dynamics of her relationship with her husband, Lincoln, and expressed his challenges with dealing with depression, suicidal thoughts and now being overwhelmed with a newborn,” the statement said. “The mother explained she left the infant in Lincoln’s care a few times without her present. The mother explained they began hearing a ‘clicking’ noise in the child’s shoulder area but the child would not cry.”
The infant was also taken to hospital on July 9 by her parents, but the mother said medical staff did not locate any injury during this visit. The “clicking” in the shoulder persisted and the infant displayed signs of pain, so the parents took her back to the hospital. Doctors at the ER performed initial X-rays of the infant and found what appeared to be a rib fracture, the statement said.
“Finding a concerning injury, doctors decided to conduct a more thorough examination and completed a skeletal survey of the infant,” the statement said. “Doctors found multiple rib fractures, a fractured clavicle and a possible leg fracture.”
The arresting officer was told there were a total of eight rib fractures, one clavicle was fractured and there were two fractures on one of the infant’s legs.
The mother of the infant told the arresting officer she called Gifford on July 11.
“She explained to us she was upset because she couldn’t understand how their child was injured,” the statement said. “She explained she knew Lincoln had difficulty with the child so she asked him what he did to her while he was caring for her. The mother reported Lincoln disclosed to her he had squeezed the child while caring for her.”
An interview was then conducted with Gifford at his home. After being read his Miranda rights, Gifford said he had squeezed his child on two separate occasions, about a week apart, the last time occurring on July 9. Gifford stated he became frustrated while trying to feed the child and squeezed her while holding her; he then said he wished to retain an attorney.
“During my time with Lincoln, he appeared remorseful, crying during much of the interview. Lincoln did admit to having depression and recognizes his need for external help,” the statement said.
Gifford was transported to Utah County Jail but subsequently released with conditions.