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Noblesville parents charged after 2-month-old son suffers multiple injuries, including brain damage

A doctor determined the infant's injuries are expected to cause some permanent neurological disability.

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. — A Noblesville couple is facing neglect charges in connection to their infant son's injuries that a doctor specializing in child abuse said could cause some permanent neurological disability.

According to court documents, Herman James Bland III, 35, and Ifrica A. Almalik, 34, brought their 2-month-old child to Peyton Manning Children's Hospital in an ambulance for seizure-like symptoms around 10 p.m. on Oct. 22, 2021.

The Department of Child Services was alerted Oct. 23 at 7 a.m. after the infant went into surgery for bleeding in his brain.

Noblesville police spoke with a physician who interviewed Bland and Almalik. According to court documents, the parents told the physician the infant had been "in his typical state of good health, eating well and acting like they would expect any baby to act."

Almalik told the physician she was nursing the infant Oct. 22 around 9 p.m. when he suddenly pulled away, and she noticed his right leg and right arm making jerking movements. Bland told the physician he was working when this happened, but both Almalik and he decided to call 911.

Test results determined the infant had the following injuries: 

  • Bleeding into the lining of the brain on both sides
  • Bleeding in the back of the eyes on both sides
  • Bruising to the right eye three weeks prior to being admitted to the hospital
  • Broken bone in the left wrist that was already healing at the time of initial X-rays
  • Probable broken ribs near the back on the left side
  • Brain damage

"Given the developmental stage and age of this infant, he could not have caused the above injuries himself. The above noted injuries are not consistent with those expected at birth," the physician said in court documents. "The above noted injuries were life threatening and have resulted in brain damage expected to cause some permanent neurological disability. The above noted injuries are consistent with severe physical child abuse in the form of abusive head trauma."

The physician said the infant was likely injured a few weeks prior to going to the hospital due to his change in mental status and healing seen on some of the injuries.

Prosecutors then got a subpoena to look through medical records from the infant's pediatrician's office. The pediatrician reportedly saw the infant four times between Aug. 31, 2021, and Sept. 30, 2021.

Despite claims from Bland and Almalik, the pediatrician said the victim appeared normal with no concerns on his head growth, breathing, excessive crying, his eyes constantly looking down or a spot in the infant's eye.

Credit: Hamilton County Jail
Herman James Bland III, 35, of Noblesville; and Ifrica A. Almalik, 34, of Noblesville.

Police then got a search warrant for Almalik's cellphone, which revealed the following: 

  • Safari searches Nov. 29, 2021, at 9:54 p.m. and Nov. 30, 2021 at 11:40 a.m.: "can a kick to the head cause a hematoma in a newborn"
  • Safari search Nov. 29, 2021, at 12:30 p.m.: "how much force does it take to cause shaken baby syndrome?"
  • Safari search Dec. 10, 2021, at 7:26 p.m.: "how do you know if a person is guilty of baby shaken syndrome"

Then, in text messages between Almalik and someone listed in her phone as "Mama Jannie," on Oct. 22, 2021 at 9:10 p.m., Mama Jannie texted, "Hell the way you was tossing him probably shocked him you know his big head," to which Almalik responded, "STFUUUU. I thought about that too." Mama Janie then replied, "Maaan I’m kicking yo ass. Done shook my GrannyFatzaManz Up."

When police tried to contact the phone number for Mama Jannie, they discovered the phone number was no longer in service.

Bland and Almalik have both been charged with neglect resulting in catastrophic injury and made their initial court appearances Thursday afternoon.

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