Woman arrested after police find child with multiple injuries


By Ray King

A Pine Bluff woman was arrested Monday after police responded to a report of an unresponsive child at an address on West 34th Avenue and found the child with multiple bruises and injuries.

Vanessa Suggs, 29, will have to post a $100,000 bond to be released from the adult detention center after Jefferson County District Judge Kim Bridgforth ruled Wednesday that prosecutors have probable cause to charge Suggs with first-degree battery.

Reading from a probable cause affidavit from Detective Chris Wieland, Deputy Prosecutor Caleb Conrad said Suggs told the first officer who arrived on the scene that the child, whose age was not mentioned, had been choking on some food and she had to use her fingers to remove the food. The officer reported that the child had bruises to both eyes.

Paramedics who arrived to assist noticed what appeared to be burn marks on the child’s back and legs which Suggs said were the result of the child being pushed down on a playground by another child. Suggs also told the paramedics she would take the child to the hospital herself, but the paramedics told police the child appeared lethargic and the child was taken to Jefferson Regional, then transferred to Arkansas Children’s Hospital at Little Rock.

Wieland reported that he spoke to a doctor at Arkansas Children’s Hospital who said the child had been the apparent victim of abuse and had multiple injuries, including a fractured scull and bleeding on the brain. Detectives attempted to question Suggs but stopped when she asked for an attorney.

Conrad said a witness told police they had seen Suggs forcefully grab the child and spank the child with a belt.

Wieland and an investigator from the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children and Families unit interviewed staff members at a Pine Bluff daycare who reported they had seen scratches, bruises and cuts on the child. A second doctor at Children’s Hospital confirmed that the child had bleeding on the brain and when asked if the injuries to the child could have been caused by falling on a playground from three and-a-half feet, the doctor said the injuries were not consistent with that.

Suggs said she would hire her own attorney and was ordered to have no contact with the child until the case is settled.