Oklahoma City man accused of forcing burp rag down infant's throat

Joseph Berry, 22, is charged with child abuse after a 2-month-old boy was hospitalized with bleeding and swelling.
by Tim Willert Published: February 12, 2013
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A man accused of forcing a rag down an infant's throat was charged Tuesday in Oklahoma County District Court with child abuse, records show.

Joseph S. Berry, 22, of Oklahoma City, also faces a drug possession charge. He is being held in the Oklahoma County jail with bail set at $52,000, a jailer said.

Prosecutors allege Berry shoved a burp rag down the child's throat and damaged the child's pharynx and larynx.

The 2-month-old boy was hospitalized Jan. 31 in critical condition with “seizure activity,” according to a probable cause affidavit.

Doctors who treated the infant said he had trouble breathing and found bleeding and swelling in his throat. They said they did not believe he swallowed the rag, police reported.

The child's mother told police Berry said he put the child to sleep and went out in the garage to smoke a cigarette. When he returned, he said the child had swallowed a corner of the spit rag and was bleeding everywhere, she told police.

The woman told police Berry said he yanked the rag out of the child's throat with a pair of pliers, according to the affidavit.


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by Tim Willert
Education Reporter
Tim Willert is a native Californian with Oklahoma ties who covers education. Prior to moving to Oklahoma in June 2011, he was as an editor for FOXSports.com in Century City, Calif., and reported on courts for the Los Angeles Daily Journal and...
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