A doctor who specializes in child abuse pediatrics testified Thursday that in his professional opinion, 2-year-old Breydon Ferrell died of abuse.
“I think someone grabbed him and slammed him against something hard and in the process, broke his head and his leg,” said Dr. Randall S. Schlievert, a specialist in child abuse pediatrics at St. Vincent Medical Center, Toledo.
Schlievert testified during the murder trial of Brent Houdeshell, a 29-year-old Arlington man accused of killing Breydon, the son of Houdeshell’s former fiancee Alisha Young, on March 31, 2016, at a Findlay apartment.
Houdeshell was watching Breydon and called 911 at about 9 p.m. that night. Police said Houdeshell told them the child had fallen out of his crib.
Schlievert said his conclusion about Breydon’s death came from the extent and location of the boy’s injuries. An injury on the child’s face was in the shape of a hand print slap, he said, and falls from hitting a table or a floor would likely not have resulted in injuries all around the head, as Breydon had.
Schlievert said skull fractures similar to the ones Breydon had are found only at homicides or in fatal car accidents.
He also said Houdeshell’s conflicting statements to police were indicative of a possible attempt to cover up child abuse.
Dr. Cynthia Beisser, a pathologist and deputy coroner from the Lucas County Coroner’s Office, testified Thursday that the injuries Breydon suffered on the night of March 31, 2016, did not match the sequence of events that Houdeshell described to police.
Beisser, who completed the boy’s autopsy, said there were injuries to the child’s face, head, back, legs and feet, including a broken left leg and a bruise on the back of the child’s head.
Beisser said the injury to the back of the child’s head was what caused Breydon’s death. She said the injury was consistent with head injuries that adults suffer from car accidents or from falling six to seven stories.
Beisser testified that she would not expect the extent of the trauma Breydon suffered to come from a fall out of a crib.
“A child with this kind of contusion would be unconscious,” Beisser said, referring to the bruise on the back of Breydon’s head.
She said Breydon would not have been able to walk, talk, eat, or do any other activities after the injury.
Houdeshell told police he gave Breydon ice cream and washed him off after finding him out of his crib.
Beisser ruled the manner of death a homicide.
“The history as given didn’t go along with the injury,” Beisser said of her ruling. “In those circumstances, it was consistent with abuse.”
Prosecutors are expected to wrap up their case on Friday. The trial resumes at 10 a.m.
Courier crime reporter Eileen McClory will have more on Friday.