Thursday, November 10, 2005

A 2-month-old boy whose foster mother is accused of shaking, slapping and dropping him on his head last month suffers from such severe brain damage that he will never be able to function normally, a Metropolitan Police detective testified yesterday.

In a preliminary hearing in D.C. Superior Court, Detective Henry Gerald testified that the infant, identified as Rafael, “suffers from severe brain damage, he is blind, he has no motor skills.”

“He is partially blind as result of the abuse. He is being fed intravenously, and the child will never be a normal child as we know it,” said Detective Gerald, the lead investigator in the case.

He said Rafael’s foster mother — Tonya Jenkins, 37, of Southeast — was intoxicated when much of the abuse occurred and her boyfriend, Albert Montgomery, also shook the infant once.

Mrs. Jenkins is charged with a felony count of first-degree cruelty to children and is being held without bond. She could face up to 15 years in prison.

She appeared in a blue prison uniform at her hearing and showed no visible emotion during testimony.

Detective Gerald said investigators interviewed Mrs. Jenkins for about 41/2 hours Oct. 25, when she was arrested and charged.

She was “very nonchalant about the whole incident,” he said, adding that she laughed, cried and appeared “initially not concerned” during different periods in the interview.

Detective Gerald also testified that Mrs. Jenkins called Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) four times before she was instructed to call 911.

CFSA officials last month offered conflicting accounts to The Washington Times about whether Mrs. Jenkins had called the agency.

Brenda Donald Walker, former CFSA director who is now deputy mayor for children, youth, families and elders, said Oct. 27 that Mrs. Jenkins had called once.

Agency spokeswoman Mindy Good said Oct. 28 that Mrs. Jenkins did not call at all, but later said she had called three times.

CFSA officials said this month they are developing a long-term care plan for Rafael, who will need a gastrointestinal tube inserted “indefinitely.”

The infant, who was exposed to cocaine before birth, is at Children’s Hospital and will remain in the care of CFSA until officials can find someone to adopt him.

CFSA officials did not return calls for comment.

Jeremiah, Mrs. Jenkins’ 3-year-old biological special-needs son, also is in CFSA custody.

Mrs. Jenkins admitted to police that she shook and slapped Rafael several times and “accidently” dropped him on his head repeatedly last month.

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