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Macon man charged with causing serious injuries to 8-week-old son
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Macon man charged with causing serious injuries to 8-week-old son


DECATUR — A Macon man is charged with causing injuries to his 8-week-old son that have sent the child to intensive care. 

Deputies went to Decatur Memorial Hospital on Thursday, Feb. 13, to investigate possible child abuse, according to a sworn affidavit in the case. Medical staff found that the baby had evidence of a healing brain injury and a newer brain injury, fractured ribs and first- and second-degree burns on his thigh, leg and genital areas, as well as bruising in several places, the affidavit said. 

Medical personnel told deputies that their findings raised concerns of "significant trauma" and that non-accidental trauma should be considered. 

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The child was sent to HSHS St. John's Children's Hospital, where the affidavit said he is in the neonatal intensive care unit with a nurse dedicated to him.  

The baby was brought to the hospital by his father, 31-year-old Seth M. Nashland. Asked about the injuries, Nashland told medical staff that they were possibly related to a family dog walking on the child or his 3-year-old daughter falling on the infant, also saying the burns could have happened from the child's bathwater accidentally getting too hot, the affidavit said. 

Nashland was interviewed by law enforcement on Friday, Feb. 14, when he acknowledged that he had become frustrated and shoved his son onto a blanket, causing his head to strike a nearby TV stand. He also said he had accidentally bumped the cold water off while giving the child a bath, which caused the burns. A check of his phone revealed a search for "how long do you go to jail for infant abuse" on the morning of Feb. 14. 

Nashland also acknowledged that the trauma to his son happened around noon and he did not take the child to the emergency room until 10 p.m., the affidavit said. 

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He was called back for another interview on Wednesday. During this interview, the affidavit said, Nashland acknowledged that he had become very upset and had shaken the child forcefully back and forth a few times before the baby's eyes rolled back into his head, then used force to push the baby to the ground. He said he believed he used enough force to break the child's ribs while doing this, and that the baby's head also struck the TV stand. The baby was crying, so he took him to the sink to give him a bath. 

"(Nashland) said he was still extremely upset, but he was panicking," the affidavit said, adding that he acknowledged lying about the dog and other child having possibly caused the injuries. "(Nashland) said he feared embarrassment if the truth was learned." 

Asked about the old and healing injuries, Nashland said they may have occurred when the child's head hit a wall after a near fall down the stairs. 

In another interview Wednesday, the 31-year-old said he also shook the infant and pushed him to the ground after becoming frustrated, and later fell down the stairs while holding the infant, according to the sheriff's office.

The child is being helped to breathe with a respirator and is being given several medications to combat seizures, the affidavit said. 

"Staff at St. John's have indicated that (the baby) may not live, but if he does, he may have problems with his vision and brain function for the rest of his life," the affidavit said. 

Nashland was arrested and booked into Macon County Jail on Wednesday afternoon on a preliminary Class X felony charge of aggravated battery to a child. Preliminary charges are subject to review by the Macon County State's Attorney's Office.

His bail is set at $2 million, meaning he would need to post $200,000 bond to to be released. 


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Contact Garrett Karsten at (217) 421-6949. Follow him on Twitter: @GarrettKarsten


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