13-Day-Old Infant Suffers Life-Threatening Injuries, Father Charged

Father charged after 13-day-old son suffers life-threatening injuries

Michael Herkal, 32, has been charged with first-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child.

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Police responded Sunday to the Herkal residence after receiving a 911 call about an infant who was not breathing, according to the complaint filed in the Dakota County court. When police arrived, they observed that the infant was turning blue and purple and a pulse could not be detected. As officers attempted to revive the child, they noticed bruises on the child's body, the complaint said. The infant was transported to the hospital where he was diagnosed with a skull fracture and blood on his brain. The child is not breathing on his own and is not expected to survive, authorities said.

The infant's mother told police said she had gotten in an argument with Herkal earlier in the day, and had left the infant in the custody of Herkal, according to the complaint. Herkal attempted to call the infant's mother twice before calling 911, the complaint noted.

Authorities said Herkal gave varying stories about how the child was injured, at first blaming his toddler son, claiming the older child pulled the newborn off the sofa. Later, while giving a statement at the Apple Valley Police Department, Herkal changed his story, claiming that the baby has slipped while he was changing the baby's diaper.

The complaint said that a forensic examination of Herkal's cellphone found the following Google searches:

  • "Someone threw a baby on the floor"
  • "Baby breathing hard"
  • "Noisy baby breathing: What's normal and what's not"
  • "Babys butt is blue"
  • "Babys butt is blue s[p]anking"

Herkal is being held at the Dakota County Jail. If the baby dies, Herkal could face murder charges, KARE11 reported.

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