Man charged with child abuse, assault after infant suffers massive head trauma

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COUNTRY CLUB, Mo. -- A 15-month-old child from Andrew County is in Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City after being transferred from a hospital in St. Joseph this past weekend.

The child is in the intensive care unit with massive head trauma according the court records released Monday.

The 15-month-old had emergency surgery on Saturday night. The injuries were allegedly caused by the mother's boyfriend, Zachary Kerns-Poe.

Kerns-Poe's father answered the door at the Country Club, Mo. address listed on court documents. He said his son, girlfriend and the baby had been staying with them, but didn't he have any comment about what happened at the home early Saturday.

Court records released by the Andrew County Prosecutor's Office paint a disturbing picture.

A 911 call just after 5 a.m. eventually led to Kerns-Poe being charged with first-degree assault, first-degree domestic assault and child abuse. Court records say he confessed to hurting the child.

He told an investigator with the Missouri State Highway Patrol he used a plastic object when he struck the child in the head "several times."

When asked if he was hitting as hard as he could investigators say he replied, "almost." Then he said he could "hear a swooshing sound of the object going by his ear."

The reason for the abuse, according to Kerns-Poe, he was tired, the child was crying and fussing and he couldn't handle it anymore.

Court records made no mention of where the mother was at the time her child was hurt. The investigation is ongoing, at this point it's unknown if the child is expected to recover. Kerns-Poe is being held without bond.

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