By Adam McCoy and Jim Price:
A father with a history of child abuse arrests is accused of severely injuring his 2-month-old daughter in her Wauwatosa home, breaking her leg and fracturing her skull causing brain hemorrhaging.
Marcel Malone, 26, was charged Thursday with intentional physical abuse of a child and child neglect — both felonies.
On July 18, Wauwatosa police were notified that the newborn was taken to the hospital after the child wouldn’t stop crying and couldn’t be comforted.
At the hospital, the baby girl was diagnosed with a transverse fracture to the right femur; acute, chronic subdural hemorrhages; and a skull fracture, according to the criminal complaint.
The child’s mother told Wauwatosa detectives she left the infant and her 12-year-old daughter with the infant’s father, Malone, around 9:30 a.m. Then, the infant appeared fine, she told police.
She received a call at 1:30 p.m. from a friend who was now watching the infant, who said the child was crying uncontrollably and nothing could calm her down. The mother got home around 2:30 p.m. and hoped changing the infant and feeding her would help to calm her, when she saw that the infant’s leg was badly swollen and phoned 911.
During a police interview, the friend recapped Malone’s demeanor when she arrived to watch the infant around 1 p.m. He was very irate, yelling and swearing, and said, “(expletive) have been gone all day,” the court documents say.
As soon as Malone became a suspect, Wauwatosa police ran a criminal background check and discovered prior arrests for sexual intercourse with a child; child abuse-intentionally causing harm; and neglecting a child with a consequence of death.
A detective interviewing the girl's mother asked her if she was aware of Malone's criminal history – she has known him about two years, she said – and she said she was not.
When told of his arrest record, the detective wrote, the woman immediately began "crying hysterically."
The 12-year-old was also interviewed, at Child Protection Services in Milwaukee, and said after taking a shower, Malone told her to stay in her bedroom until her mother got home, court documents show.
She stayed in her room while he played video games in the living room, where the infant was, until she heard a big boom, and the infant crying very loudly, she said. She ran into the room to find the infant lying on her back in a playpen and crying, court documents say.
Malone told her the infant was fine and not to come back into living room. But, she said, she was worried, so when Malone would step out to make phone calls, she would sneak into the living room to check on her sister.
Malone told investigators he didn’t harm his daughter, the infant didn’t cry and he was unsure about hearing a “boom.”
In a medical report, doctors said a “femur fracture does not occur spontaneously without a significant, violent traumatic event. The presence of an unexplained femur fracture in a non-mobile infant is diagnostic of child physical abuse.”
Doctors also say because there were no signs of healing, it’s likely the bone fracture occurred on July 18, though they could not date the skull fracture.
If convicted, he could face up to 46 years imprisonment, or $110,000 in fines, or both.
He is currently in custody on $25,000 cash bail and is due in court Aug. 5 for a preliminary court hearing.
[Editor's note: Based on information in a Milwaukee County Court criminal complaint, the first version of this story referred to the defendant as a Wauwatosa man. Police reports, made available since, make it clear that the victim and her mother live in Wauwatosa but the defendant has had numerous recent Milwaukee addresses and did not live with the mother of his child.]