‘Just unfathomable’: Infant hospitalized, grandfather accused in attack
GREENSBURG, Ind. (WXIN) – A man was arrested and charged with attempted murder after he allegedly attacked his infant granddaughter in Greensburg, Indiana.
As of Tuesday, 5-month-old Bryleigh Adams remains at Riley Hospital for Children, where her family said she’s continuing to show signs of improvement, but still has a long journey ahead. They hope to be her voice and share the strength she’s shown.
“She continues to fight. Everything that we do, she’s still smiling throughout it. She’s working so hard every day to keep fighting,” said Bryleigh’s mother, Madalynn Hadley.
According to police, Christopher D. Allen, 48, was arrested on March 7 on several preliminary charges. Family said the attack happened that afternoon.
Allen is charged with attempted murder, a level 1 felony, punishable by a sentence of 20 to 40 years, if convicted. He is being held in Decatur County on a $10 million surety bond.
Bryleigh’s family said she suffered significant injuries in the attack that came out of nowhere when Allen allegedly hit her in the face multiple times.
“I don’t understand. I don’t get it, how a person could ever, ever do this to a 5-month-old baby,” said Jennifer Powers, Bryleigh’s paternal grandmother. “This is just unfathomable that this happened.”
Powers said she’s still having difficulty processing how or why this happened. She said she barely remembers the ride to the hospital because she was in such a state of shock.
“It was awful. They said it was absolutely awful,” she said. “She had to have CPR. She was completely – she was blue.”
Family shared that Bryleigh was transported to a hospital in Greensburg and transferred to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. When she arrived, they said they learned she had a fractured eye socket, a fractured skull, her eyelid swollen shut, and injuries to her neck, including torn ligaments and a sprain. She will be in a neck collar for several months, they said.
Family also told Nexstar’s WXIN she suffered a brain bleed and currently has a nasogastric (NG) tube for feeding because she is unable to swallow. They’re still waiting to learn whether she will have a feeding tube placed in her stomach before she is able to go home.
“Throughout this situation, I feel like it’s just an up and down rollercoaster. We hear good things, and then sometimes there’s little setbacks,” said Hadley.
Still, Hadley said her daughter is smiling, grabbing her feet and playing with toys. It gives her hope, knowing her daughter is a fighter, even at such a young age.
“It seems like she’s almost back to herself for just a second, despite everything she’s having to go through,” she said.
The man accused of attacking Bryleigh is the infant’s maternal grandfather. Family on both sides hope to someday comprehend why this happened and how someone could hurt a child so small and innocent.
Powers said, “This is a man who’s in the baby’s life every day. They never thought anything of it. My son, who is the father, he said he would have never thought he would have done this, it just came out of nowhere and he just attacked her.”
She said there were other people at the home and it appears Allen went back inside and in an unprovoked attack, began to hit the child.
“What he did is horrendous, not OK in any way, but that’s not the man that he is,” said Hadley.
Bryleigh’s mother said she believes something is wrong with her father and hopes to understand what changed, causing this to happen. She said she’s only ever known him as a loving dad and grandfather, who loves his grandkids.
“For this to happen, it’s hard for people on the outside to look at our story and understand, because we can’t even understand how something like this could happen,” said Hadley. “It’s definitely pretty difficult because we want to know what’s wrong with him, we want to know how this happened and we want to understand and get those answers.”
Despite the answers they hope to get, Hadley said there’s one thing she knows: the support from the community is helping guide their family through Bryleigh’s recovery.
“She’s continuing to smile and I feel like every day she’s just getting better and the amount of prayers that we have got, God is just amazing, and he is working his way on her and she is just pushing through,” said Hadley.
“I hope that Bryleigh gets justice. I hope that this man doesn’t get out to come near her or anyone else again,” said Powers.
According to court records, a judge set a June 7 trial date in Allen’s case.
Family said a fundraiser has been established to help with medical expenses and other related costs in Bryleigh’s recovery. If you’re interested in learning more about it, you can visit this link.
Greensburg police thanked the Decatur County Sheriff’s Department and Decatur County EMS for their assistance in the investigation, and said it remained ongoing. The department has not released any additional details.
Resources for families
In cases of child abuse, regardless of the type of maltreatment, Sandy Runkle, program director for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana said, “Sadly it’s almost always somebody the child knows.”
Runkle reminds that anyone with child abuse or neglect reports, they must report those directly to the DCS hotline, as mentioned above, rather than individual agencies.
“It is important to take those steps. I know it’s not easy. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re talking about a family member,” she said. “If you have a child who really doesn’t have a voice, we have to be that voice.”
Runkle wants to remind people, it’s normal to find yourself frustrated, but when that happens while you’re caring for a child, you need to take a deep breath, walk away and know it is okay to ask for help.
“I know it takes a lot of courage if it’s someone in family to make that call, to do that intervention,” said Runkle. “It’s what we do in that moment. It’s very important to take that deep breath, call somebody before something does happen where you are absolutely going to regret that action.”