GRANTSBURG, Wis. - A Grantsburg couple has been charged with felony child abuse in the death of their 10-week-old infant.
Thirty-five-year-old Jesse Marek and 21-year-old Samantha Stoeklen are each facing identical felony child abuse charges of intentionally causing great bodily harm as party to a crime, in the death of their 10-week-old child on Feb. 1, 2016.
According to the criminal complaint, the Burnett County Sheriff's Department received a call about a suspicious death of a child on Feb. 2, 2016.
Upon investigation, deputies found that the father of the child, 35-year-old Jesse Marek, had fed the child at about 4 a.m. the previous day, and around 8:30 a.m., he found the child limp, unresponsive and barely breathing. After attempting CPR, Marek brought the child to the Burnett Medical Center, and from there the child was transferred to St. Paul Children's Hospital and pronounced dead.
The Ramsey County Medical Examiner's autopsy report revealed that the child suffered multiple non-accidental injuries. The medical examiner found rib fractures that were all at different stages of healing - meaning they had been inflicted at different times, showing a pattern of abuse.
The report stated that the injuries were consistent with forceful squeezing, and that they resulted from at least three - and up to five - traumatic events, starting when the child was between 1 and 3 weeks old.
In an interview with law enforcement, Marek said that at some point in the past, around Jan. 15, 2016, the child had rolled off the couch. It was explained to Marek that this incident would not have caused the rib fractures found in the autopsy. Marek also admitted he has a "temper."
Marek and Stoeklen are scheduled to appear in court on April 26.
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