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Infant’s fractured ribs, brain bleed bring felony charge against young father

The five-week-old boy arrived at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital on Jan. 23 with injuries consistent with being shaken.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A young father is facing a felony child abuse charge after his infant son arrived at the hospital with broken ribs and bleeding on the brain.

Kyle Douglas Combs, 21, is charged with first-degree child abuse, a potential life offense. Bond for Combs was set at $1 million.

The Kent County Sheriff’s Department got involved after the five-week-old boy arrived at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital on Jan. 23. He was brought there by family members. The injuries were believed to be non-accidental and consistent with being shaken, investigators said.

“Some of his initial injuries included bleeding and contusions on the brain and multiple rib fractures,’’ Kent County Sheriff’s Sgt. Joy Matthews said.

Court records indicate the child was injured on or about Jan. 21 at a home on Casper Avenue NW in Kent County's Alpine Township. A warrant charging Combs was authorized on Jan. 26.  

Combs on Wednesday waived a probable cause conference, sending the case to Kent County Circuit Court.

Meanwhile, the victim remains hospitalized, but is showing signs of improvement, Matthews said.  “He is breathing on his own,’’ she said.

Matthews said child abuse cases are among the most emotionally difficult to investigate.

“As police officers, we have a duty to keep all residents safe, especially the most vulnerable,’’ Matthews said. “When a child abuse case is reported to our agency, we take it very seriously. The impact of abuse on young victims can be devastating, both physically and mentally.’’

Matthews said it is important to raise community awareness about child abuse and prevention, especially amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on parents who are experiencing additional stress, anxiety, isolation and frustration,’’ she said. “We encourage anyone who is struggling to reach out to us at (616) 632-6357.’’

Matthews said resources are also available by visiting www.accesskent.com.

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