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Doctor's report narrows time Edmond's baby Jake was injured

The president of the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a medical opinion stating he believes the injuries that killed an Edmond baby 10 months ago were sustained at the home of his baby sitter.
BY RANDY ELLIS, NOLAN CLAY AND ROBBY TRAMMELL Published: January 15, 2012

“I have got one of the best doctors in the world on these kinds of stuff and I'll go with him and these are older injuries,” he said.

James would not identify his experts.

James said he did not know Block had done a report, but contended Block's opinion for the commission would be unreliable because Block had been consulted by the Hedgers' attorney about the death.

'If he's writing reports for the Oklahoma Commission on Children and Youth, I hope he divulged that he's been in contact with the Hedgers' attorney,” James said.

Kevin Butler, the Hedgers' attorney, readily acknowledged consulting with Block early on in the investigation, but said Block was not paid and disputed any contention he may have been influenced.

“Absolutely not,” Butler said. “Dr. Block is beyond reproach. ... He is one of the top experts in the country regarding child abuse. He's recognized as that.”

Butler confirmed that his clients have gone to court to obtain tissue samples from their child's autopsy and are having those samples sent to Georgia expert Steve Dunton in hopes that he can analyze them and issue a more precise opinion about when the injuries were inflicted.

“We did that because, quite frankly, the investigation seemed to be going nowhere,” Butler said. “We wanted to get some conclusive evidence and so we hired our own expert to take a look at it.”

The Oklahoman reported Friday that Oklahoma County prosecutors have decided to present evidence in the case to the state's multicounty grand jury in an effort to move the investigation forward.

Butler said the Hedgers have been subpoenaed and will cooperate fully.

James said the Kramers have been subpoenaed to testify Jan. 31.

James said he did not know at this point whether his clients will answer questions from grand jurors or invoke their Constitutional right not to answer questions.

Zane Hedger, Jake's father, said he was pleased by recent developments.

“We would jump at the chance to speak for sure,” he said.

The baby's father said he believes Block's medical opinion is a major development because Block and Dr. John Stuemky are regarded as two of Oklahoma's leading experts on child abuse. Stuemky is one of the two OU physicians who previously told investigators they believe the fatal injury was inflicted at the baby sitter's house.

“That's two of the state's leading authorities right there — wow!” the father said. “We are excited to see movement on the case after 10 months. We are hoping this momentum builds and keeps pushing forward quickly. We are ... very grateful for the outreach from the community who have been giving prayer and support for us. That has been very important in seeing us through this mess.”

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