Port Richey mom accused of abusing infant son at hospital
By WFLA.com web staff
Violet Hinrichs, 19, is charged with four counts of aggravated child abuse. Hillsborough Co. Jail photo
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -
A Port Richey woman is charged with four counts of aggravated child abuse after investigators say she abused her 7-month-old son while he was a patient at Tampa's St. Joseph's Hospital.
Investigators say Violet Hinrichs' infant son was under observation for seizures and sleep apnea, which included video and audio monitoring by hospital staff.
Investigators say Hinrichs, age 19, is seen on the the video choking her son until his heart rate and brain waves dropped to dangerous levels. She squeezed her son four times, according to police.
Investigators say the video shows the baby struggling, flailing its arms, turning blue and ultimately becoming unresponsive.
Hospital staff noticed bruising on the baby boy's neck and contacted police.
Hinrichs' sister, Tiffany Coffey said her family is stunned by the charges.
"I never seen Violet in any kind of way hurting that baby, she was always with the baby. I never would expect that or seen that coming from her. I still can't believe it or wrap my mind around it or even accept it," said Coffey.
On April 29, police called Hinrichs and asked her to come to the hospital as soon as possible. When she arrived, they arrested her.
Investigators say the baby did not suffer any seizures at the hospital during the times when his mother was not present. He has not suffered a seizure since he was separated from his mother. Details have not been released about the baby's condition. He is still at the hospital.
"There is no medical indication at this point that the child has any condition that should cause seizures or apnea, so the suspect in this case caused these medical issues," said Tampa Police Spokesperson Andrea Davis.
Detectives say they questioned Hinrichs at TPD headquarters where she admitted to the crime. They say there is no indication the baby has any medical condition relating to apnea or seizures.
Additional charges could be filed.
Hinrichs' Facebook page says her son was admitted to the hospital on April 14.