PHOENIX – A man and a woman are accused of child abuse after a newborn was hospitalized with multiple broken bones and bite marks.
According to court documents, detectives responded to Phoenix Children’s Hospital on Aug. 1 after a two-month-old was brought to the hospital with several fractures and bite marks on an arm and a leg. The child’s parents, 24-year-old James Lawson III and 21-year-old Stephanie Komphabay, were interviewed but reportedly couldn’t explain the child’s injuries.
Investigators obtained a search warrant on Lawson’s and Komphabay’s cell phones and found pictures of injuries to the child dating back to July 1.
“These injuries consisted of bruises to the face, swelling to an eye, bloody lip, and an abrasion on the forehead,” court documents read.
Investigators say after examining the data on Lawson’s phone, he had previously searched “If you choke baby hit the head get lump” and “can you put ice on newborn head.” Lawson allegedly claimed that the injuries were from the child “fighting him and scratching herself.”
Before the newborn was brought to Phoenix Children’s on Aug. 1, Komphabay took the child to a pediatrician for a swollen leg. While at the pediatrician’s office, Lawson allegedly told Komphabay “do not tell anyone” and to “keep her mouth shut” regarding the child’s injuries.
Komphabay later told police she witnessed Lawson abusing the child, according to court documents.
“When the victim would cry, [Lawson] would grab the victim by the jaw area with both hands, squeeze the mouth shut, lifting the victim by the jaw area causing both feet to dangle while stating he knew what he was doing,” court documents read.
Komphabay said she stopped asking Lawson about the child’s injuries because he “would get upset and become defensive.”
“All of this took place for an entire month yet [Komphabay] did not report or stop [Lawson] causing the victim to obtain further more severe injuries,” court documents read.
Lawson and Komphabay were arrested on Oct. 5 and booked into jail. They are accused of child abuse.
The child is out of the hospital and is in the custody of the Department of Child Safety.
See something, say something
“These cases are hard on everybody involved. From the patrol officers that respond to these scenes to the detectives that also take over the cases and the investigations. It’s difficult on everybody involved,” said Kristopher Babros with the Peoria Police Department.
He says there are resources for those experiencing or witnessing abuse.
“If there’s an issue at home, find another family member. If the baby is still continuing to cry, find somebody else. Rely on another family member,” he said. “Just know that they can always bring the child, the infant, to the police department, to the fire department. We are more than willing to help. We don’t want any injuries upon any child.”
The saying rings true: See something, say something.
“If you see something, say something. We don’t want our children to get hurt. We don’t want any injuries. We don’t want anybody to get hurt. With this situation, thankfully the baby is going to survive and make a full recovery from all the injuries which is a blessing,” Babros said.
You can contact the child abuse hotline in Arizona by calling 1-888-SOS-CHILD (1-888-767-2445).
Learn more about reporting abuse here.