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Toddler’s parents face felony neglect charge

Angela Beck and Gregory Higgins II stayed up all night May 9 and into the early morning hours of May 10. While they went out “scrapping” – looking for used metal and objects – they left their children ages 12, 10, and 15-months home alone.

But that’s not what caused the charges of Class B-felony neglect of a dependent to be filed against them Monday in Allen Superior Court.

At some point after they arrived home, Beck, 35, let Higgins, 27, take the toddler upstairs with him. The couple live in the 400 block of Elizabeth Street.

Higgins told investigators he fell asleep with the toddler in his care and that he found the child lying unresponsive and on his back on the stairway landing.

But doctors who evaluated the toddler at St. Joseph Hospital’s emergency room and later at Lutheran Hospital’s Pediatric Intensive Care Unit said the injuries were inconsistent with Higgins’ claim the child merely took a tumble down the stairs.

Doctors found a midline shift of the child’s brain due to swelling, bleeding on his brain behind his forehead, and unusual bruises around his scalp. According to court documents, the bruising looked like fingerprints, as if the toddler was grabbed on both sides of his head.

Additional bruises of varying age were found, as well as an unattended injury to his left big toe, a sore on the bottom of his lip and an injury to the inside of his mouth, according to court documents.

Beck told a detective the injuries came when the child would hit himself in the head with his toys.

But doctors said such injuries were not likely to be caused by that and were consistent with child abuse.

Both Beck and Higgins were charged with neglect of a dependent causing serious bodily injury.

In an unrelated case, Higgins is charged with burglary, accused of kicking in the door of a Springfield Township home and stealing a package, as well as several other items.

The burglary was captured on security video cameras, and when Allen County police released the information to the media, numerous tips came in.

Many of the tips identified Higgins, who was driving Beck’s car, according to court documents.

When questioned by police, Higgins said he committed the burglary, taking the package from the front door to “just be an (expletive),” according to court documents.