Man arrested for child abuse of girlfriend’s 6-month-old in Charlotte County

Reporter: Justin Kase Writer: Jack Lowenstein
Published: Updated:
Joseph Anthony Brooks, 27. Credit: Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office.

A 6-month-old baby is fighting for life Friday night after investigators say a babysitter abused them inside a home. Neighbors we spoke to hope the baby is able to survive.

Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office arrested Joseph Anthony Brooks, 27, Friday for beating his girlfriend’s child while in his care at a home in Charlotte County.

Rescue services responded to a home along Abalom Street and rushed a child to Bayfront Health Port Charlotte to treat serious injuries.

When the child’s aunt picked up the baby from Brooks’ car, she says the child was pale, lifeless and barely breathing.

Detectives say Brooks responded with shock and confusion when he found out the baby had bleeding around the brain. Investigators were at the home for several hours with crime scene tape up.

“When you see the yellow tape, you know there’s something probably very serious,” neighbor Arlene Kincaid said.

Investigators say Brooks was watching his girlfriend’s 6-month-old baby, something he’d been doing for several weeks.

“To see an innocent child be mistreated, it’s very, very sad,” Arlene said.

Brooks called the baby’s mother to tell her the child was unresponsive and not breathing. But after the baby was rushed to this hospital, doctors discovered bruises on the child’s face, ribs and bleeding around the brain.

“I mean, that’s really bad,” Arlene said. “An innocent child that cannot protect themselves from having someone beat them or whatever you want to call it.”

Not only are doctors describing the baby’s injuries as child abuse, they say the injuries are consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

Neighbors never saw brooks as someone capable of this.

“I’d see [Brooks] with a stroller walking the kids down the street and the little boys running, and I’d stop and wave,” neighbor Jim Kincaid said.

The baby is now at St. Petersburg at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital.

There is no update to the status of the baby currently.

Brooks is in Charlotte County jail and faces charges for aggravated battery of a child. He is scheduled to be in court Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m.

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