Green River Star -

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By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

Man sentenced for hurting baby


A man accused of slapping his five-month-old baby was given prison time for his crime.

Dustin Tankersley of Green River appeared in the Third District Court of Judge Richard Lavery at a sentencing hearing to four felony counts of child abuse and one count of aggravated child abuse.

In exchange for Tankersley’s guilty pleas to two counts of felony child abuse, he was given two, four-to 10-year prison sentences, which will run concurrently. He was given credit for 226 days of pre-sentence confinement. All of the other felony charges were dismissed.

According to court documents, on Aug. 26, 2015, a Green River Police officer detective responded to a call from the Department of Family Services. The DFS employee said the call was about bruises found on a five-month-old infant.

Tankersley’s mother, Shawn Reyes told DFS, her son and his girlfriend, Katelyn Burch, lived with her in Green River and she witnessed her son slap the baby, TT, in the face. When the DFS worker confronted Tankersley, he admitted to slapping the baby. Reyes said the baby had a black eye, bruising and a red streak down the side of her face.

A detective immediately responded to the residence to check on the baby; and noticed the baby had an injury to the left eye and cheek. The officer looked for additional injuries on TT, while Tankersley sat on the couch.

She found bruising to TT’s left shoulder, right ribcage area and lower abdominal area. The officer called an ambulance; and took photos of the injuries.

During an interview, Reyes said she also confronted Tankersley about some previous bruises on TT that he claimed the baby got when she fell in the bathtub. Reyes said Tankersley admitted to striking the child repeatedly with an open hand.

Burch was also interviewed by an officer and she said she had taken photos of bruising on her daughter. When the officer looked at the phone to see the photos the date stated it was taken on June 22, 2015. Burch said Tankersley told her those bruises were from the baby falling out of his arms after he gave her a bath.

Tankersley was also interviewed by an officer and he said on Aug. 26, 2015, he was having problems with the baby and kept texting and calling Burch to come home and help him because he was getting stressed out and he was tired from only having 3 1/2 hours of sleep. He said he fed TT, changed TT and got her to burp, but she continued to cry.

He said he tried feeding her again, but too forcibly and the baby cried even harder. When that didn’t work he started seeing red and claims he blacked out.

Tankersley admitted to lying the baby on her back on his bed and pushing her torso down repeatedly like he was giving an adult CPR. He went outside to smoke a cigarette and when he returned TT was still crying so he hit her in the face. He said his mom had then returned home and called the police. Tankersley also admitted to slapping and pushing on TT’s chest on another occasion.

TT was transported to the Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and then air flighted to Primary Children’s Medical Center. Additional bruising to the baby showed up on the baby as she was being flown to the hospital.

The doctors report showed that they had discovered a “subdural hemorrhage,” which is to as bleeding on the brain. The injury was consistent with TT being shaken.


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