On Wednesday, March 27th, 2019 at approximately 10:30 P.M., Redding Police Officers responded to Mercy Medical Center in regards to a three-month-old female infant who was being treated for a suspected brain bleed. The child’s injury appeared suspicious, possibly stemming from child abuse. Officers contacted the parents of the child in the emergency room and conducted initial interviews with both parents.
Statements made by the victim’s father, 22-year-old Ashton Vanzant of Redding, were found to be inconsistent with the injuries sustained. Redding Police Department Investigators were contacted and responded to assume the investigation.
Vanzant was interviewed by investigators and initially provided a statement saying he had accidentally dropped the victim onto a piece of furniture and she suffered head injuries. Investigators located suspicious internet searches on Vanzant’s cellular phone which contradicted his statement. Investigators learned Vanzant had searched for information regarding shaken baby syndrome, and jail sentences for shaken baby offenders. These searches were conducted shortly after the time period when the victim sustained her injuries. When asked about the suspicious searches and the other inconsistencies in his story, Vanzant confessed having shaken the victim out of frustration.
Vanzant said the victim would not stop crying so he shook her in an effort to silence her. He described the shaking as “aggressive” and said he used a significant amount of force when shaking the child. The victim had what appeared to be a seizure and Vanzant realized she was injured.
Vanzant transported the victim to Mercy Medical Center and provided medical staff with a false story regarding the injuries. The victim was examined at Mercy Medical Center and later at Shasta Community Health. Signs and symptoms of shaken baby syndrome were observed and scans confirmed victim was suffering from a brain bleed.
The victim and her mother were transported via helicopter to UC Davis Medical Center to allow for the infant to receive specialized medical care. At the time of this press release, the victim was reported to be in stable condition.
Vanzant was booked into the Shasta County Jail on charges of child abuse, attempted murder, and great bodily injury inflicted during the commission of a felony.
Child abuse is a serious problem in Shasta County. Over 30 percent of the Redding Police Department’s investigative resources are dedicated to serving juvenile victims of physical and sexual abuse. Information about child abuse in Shasta County, including child abuse prevention, can be found at the Shasta County Child Abuse Prevention Coordinating Council website www.shastacapcc.org.
Local law enforcement and health agencies have been working towards establishing the Children’s Legacy Center to better combat child abuse. Combined efforts from The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office, Shasta County Sheriff’s Office, Redding Police Department, Anderson Police Department, Health and Human Services Agency (Child Protective Services and Mental Health), and Shasta Community Health Center, hope to create a one-stop center where any child in Shasta County who is sexually or physically abused, witnesses a physical or violent crime, or is severely neglected will be able to receive their forensic interview, non-acute medical exam, advocacy support, and therapy services. For additional information visit the Children’s Legacy Center website at www.childrenslegacycenter.org.
Contact: Sgt. Todd Cogle #301
Redding Police Department 530-225-4200