GreeneStreets. Feature photo of a back country road in Greene County, Indiana. Courtesy of Nick Schneider.

Doctor said baby’s skull looked like ‘a cracked egg shell’; Tosumba Welch agrees to plead guilty; facing possible 20 years

Tosumba Welch Jr.

Tosumba Welch Jr.

After an unresponsive nine-month-old baby was airlifted to Riley Hospital last August, a doctor told a state police detective the baby’s skull resembled “a cracked egg shell.” The father was arrested for four serious felony counts and has been in Greene County Jail while awaiting his trial date. That date’s been vacated since the defendant agreed to plead guilty and now he’s waiting to be sentenced – he could be facing up to 20 years in prison.  

The baby’s father, Tosumba Welch, Jr., age 20, of Linton, was charged with three counts of domestic battery resulting in serious bodily injury to a person under the age of 14, all Level 3 felonies, and one count of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, also a Level 3 felony.

This case was investigated by Detective Stacy Brown of the Indiana State Police.

It began on August, 27, 2017, when the nine-month-old infant, unresponsive and suffering seizures, was taken to Greene County General Hospital. Medical staff were suspicious and contacted the Department of Child Services. The baby was airlifted to Riley Hospital in Indianapolis.

When Det. Brown talked to a doctor at Riley the next day, he learned initial testing had revealed two skull fractures and two brain bleeds but more testing was underway to determine the full extent of the injuries. Late the same day, the additional testing ruled out any medical cause for the child’s injuries and showed the baby had multiple skull fractures. That is when the doctor, in describing the injuries, said the baby’s skull was “like a cracked egg shell.”

The baby also had a healing rib fracture on one side and three on the other with fresh rib fractures to three ribs on one side. In addition, the baby had three brain bleeds of varying severity, swelling to the back of her skull, an injury to the lower part of her collar bone and a fracture to her left ankle that the doctor thought was likely to be a classic “jerk and yank” abuse fracture.

Det. Brown conducted numerous interviews with Welch and family members and friends, and a search warrant was executed at the home where the injuries were suffered.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed in this case, Welch initially denied harming the child, but later confirmed that he had not been honest and admitted squeezing the child. He said he was very stressed and frustrated because the baby was crying all the time. Det. Brown wrote that Welch also admitted to punching the baby in the head numerous times.  

Welch was arrested and a no-contact order put in place at his initial hearing. A public defender was appointed to represent him and the judge increased the amount of his bond to $60,000 cash only with no ten percent allowed. Twice the defense filed motions to reduce his bond. Motions denied. He did not post bond and has remained in the Greene County Jail since the day of his arrest.

A trial date was set, but in late March a negotiated plea agreement, signed by Welch, his attorney and the prosecuting attorney, was submitted to the court. A pre-sentence investigation report has been underway in preparation for an upcoming change of plea and sentencing hearing.

Under the terms of the agreement, Welch is expected to plead guilty to two of the counts of domestic battery, both Level 3 felonies. The agreement leaves it up to the judge whether the sentences on those two counts should be served concurrently/at the same time or consecutively/one after the other. The lengths of the sentences are also left up to the judge’s discretion, however, it specifies the maximum sentence should not exceed a total of 20 years in the Indiana Department of Corrections with the executed portion not to exceed 18 years.