A Centralia couple was charged Thursday in Marion County Court with allegedly abusing their 6-week-old infant when she wouldn’t stop crying.
According to court records, 21-year-old Blake Allan Cook, of the home motel in Centralia, has been charged with Class X felony aggravated battery to a child under the age of 13, resulting in permanent injury. His bail has been set at $500,000.
The baby’s mother, 20-year-old Margaret Overstreet, was charged with misdemeanor child endangerment and her bail was set at $10,000.
Police say Cook repeatedly struck the baby girl in the head with his fist when she wouldn’t stop crying. Overstreet, they say, knew of the abuse, but allowed it to continue.
Police reports show Cook initially claimed to have thrown a jar of peanut butter against the wall and that the jar accidentally struck the baby. However, the mother later admitted Cook hit the baby when she was crying.
Detectives say they first became aware of the abuse when the parents allegedly threatened to accuse a relative of kidnapping the infant if they took her to a hospital after noticing bruises on her face.
The couple was later spotted walking near the Home Motel with the infant and were taken into custody. The baby was taken to St. Mary’s good Samaritan Hospital, but was ultimately transported to Cardinal Glennon in St. Louis, with a reported brain bleed on the left side of her head. She remains hospitalized in stable condition. Her parents remained in the Marion County Jail.