Ephrata man accused of assaulting infant daughter

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EPHRATA — An Ephrata man is accused of assaulting his 10-month-old daughter while drunk and fracturing her skull.

Grant County prosecutors charged Alejandro Bernal, 22, of Ephrata, with second-degree child assault and fourth-degree assault.

Last week the Ephrata Police Department received a request for a welfare check at a home in the 100 block of G Street Southeast. Child Protective Services (CPS) requested police check on a 10-month-old girl who was reported to have “extensive” bruising, according to police records.

CPS received a referral from Columbia Basin Hospital after the child's mother brought her into the emergency room earlier in the night claiming the girl rolled off a bed. CBH staff concluded the extent of the girl's bruising did not match the mother's story of what happened. Hospital staff further advised that some of the bruising on the girl appeared to be new, while other bruises appeared to be older.

When police arrived at the G Street residence the victim's mother again claimed her daughter had rolled off a bed. But she later told officers she lied at the hospital. She claimed earlier in the night she picked up Bernal, who was allegedly drunk, and drove him to the G Street house.

She said she went into the house with her daughter and Bernal, who is the girl's father, but had to momentarily leave the girl with Bernal as she retrieved a bottle out of her car. She said when she returned Bernal told her to take the baby and he threw the girl onto a bed. She claimed it was then that she noticed a bump on the back of the girl's head and bruises on her body.

Bernal was later taken into custody and interviewed about what happened on the night of the alleged assault. Bernal admitted to drinking eight or nine beers at a friend's house and getting drunk, but he claimed he remembered everything that happened.

He denied assaulting the girl, giving police an account similar to the one the girl's mother gave. Bernal claimed he was holding his daughter when her mother left the room and when she came back the girl started crying. He said when he handed the girl over, the girl's mother felt a lump on her head and “freaked out.” A CT Scan later revealed the girl had received a skull fracture.

Richard Byrd can be reached via email at city@columbiabasinherald.com.

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