Mother who fractured infant’s skull gets prison time

Ashley Ann-Marie Walton (Strong) (Photo courtesy: Allen County Sheriff's Department)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE)  A mother accused of throwing an infant against a wall, fracturing the baby’s skull, was sentenced to ten years on Monday. Six years will be served in prison and four on probation.

Ashley Ann-Marie Strong was found guilty of a charge of battery and a charge of neglect of a dependent, all felonies. The judge also ruled that Strong can have no contact with her daughter for the entire 10-year sentence.

According to the January report, Strong told Fort Wayne police she threw her infant daughter against a wall in the bedroom of their apartment because she couldn’t get the baby to stop crying. Police said Strong tested positive for cocaine and claim she waited for more than 35 minutes before trying to get the baby medical help.

The incident took place on January 10 and, according to court documents, Strong initially told police her three-year-old daughter dropped the baby girl on her head at their apartment in the Colony Bay complex on the city’s southwest side.  Strong told investigators she was sleeping with the three-year-old and the infant when she woke up to find the infant crying on the bedroom floor.  She told police the three-year-old was looking at the infant and said, “ut oh”.

Strong told police that when she picked the baby up, it seemed lethargic and was looking at her with a blank stare. She also said the baby’s face was swollen.

Strong told police the baby was injured at 12:03 p.m. and she immediately called EMS.

Police asked to look at Strong’s cell phone during the interview to verify her story and she agreed.

The phone showed that five calls had been placed right at 12:05 pm, but none of those calls were to EMS. Strong  had also apparently texted a person at 12:26 pm to try and buy prescription pills and powder cocaine.  Phone records indicate it wasn’t until 12:40 pm that Strong called EMS for medical help.

Police believe Strong continued to text message the same person to arrange a price for the drugs and a pick up time.  At 3:38 p.m., while at the hospital where her baby girl was being treated, a text from Strong to the same person read, “ok cuz I’m at the hospital with the baby and I’m not trying to be gone long.”

After being transported from the hospital to the police station to be interviewed, Strong admitted that she had thrown her baby against the wall and that the three-year-old daughter had not dropped the baby on her head as she had originally claimed.

She told police she hadn’t slept in two or three days and when she couldn’t get the child to stop crying, she threw the baby and it’s head hit the wall before landing on the bed.  Strong also told police she changed the baby’s diaper and gave her a bath in the time between when she was injured and when EMS was called. The baby suffered a skull fracture and brain bleeding.

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