Austin McDowell of Marshfield has been charged with two counts of child abuse and neglect (a Class D felony).
According to a probable cause statement obtained from the Webster County Circuit Court, an officer and a Children’s Division investigator went to an apartment, where they observed injuries on the victim. The injuries were from two separate incidents, including one instance in which McDowell allegedly hit the victim with his fist, according to the statement.
At another residence, the officer and Children's Division investigator spoke with an individual who reported another incident on July 1; in that instance, McDowell is alleged to have thrown a plastic toy at the victim.
The Children’s Division investigator spoke with two other victims there and observed injuries on them. They confirmed the incidents in which McDowell is reported to have hit the first victim in the face with his fist and thrown the toy.
Forensic interviews and medical examines were conducted on July 14. The medical provider listed three individuals as having injuries consistent with child physical abuse.
During his interview on July 21, McDowell stated on July 10 the victim had been in the living room floor playing and got scared when he started to vacuum. McDowell said he tossed a plastic toy gun, which bounced off the carpet and struck the victim in the eye. McDowell denied striking the first victim with his fist.