Posted Online: Nov. 20, 2012, 9:52 pm

Cordova man pleads innocent to charge of aggravated battery of a child

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By Rachel Warmke, rwarmke@qconline.com

Photo:
John Harold Hager Jr. 30, of 1108 3rd St., Cordova
After a 4-month-old boy sustained two skull fractures on Nov. 5, his father told police he dropped the baby onto an infant chair, a Rock Island County Sheriff's Department detective testified on Tuesday.

John Harold Hager Jr., 30, of 1108 3rd St., Cordova, pleaded innocent to a charge of aggravated battery of a child.

The baby is doing well after sustaining two skull fractures, Detective Mindy Meyers testified during a preliminary hearing on Tuesday.

She said police were dispatched to Genesis Medical Center, Illini Campus on Nov. 6, after emergency room doctors did X-rays on the baby and determined he had sustained a skull fracture.

Mr. Hager, who was alone with the child before his hospitalization, initially told officers he had been cooking dinner when a cat hopped onto the back of his son's bouncy seat, "catapulting" the infant out of the chair and causing him to hit his head on a metal threshold on the floor, Detective Meyers said.

Emergency room doctors said Mr. Hager's story was inconsistent with the baby's injuries, the detective said, adding that upon further questioning,Mr. Hager said the baby had fallen on a stairwell.

Several days later, Mr. Hager told police that on the night of the incident, he was frustrated and dropped his son in the direction of a bouncy chair and the baby hit his head on the floor, Detective Meyers testified.

She said a young child in the home at the time told police he saw an overturned bouncy chair, heard the baby crying and Mr. Hager saying, "I'll give you something to cry about."

Subsequent medical reviews concluded the skull fractures may have been the result of the baby being dropped from a height of four to five feet or from the impact of hitting a broad surface, such as a floor, the detective testified.

Mr. Hager remained in the Rock Island County Jail on Tuesday afternoon on a $100,000 bond. He is scheduled for a Dec. 20 pretrial conference.