MATTOON — A home daycare provider in Mattoon has been charged with aggravated battery of a 6-month-old boy, causing “shaken baby” type injuries that required an extended stay at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
The Coles County State’s Attorney’s Office has filed a felony charge of aggravated battery to a victim under age 13, with a possibility of permanent injury, against Carmen M. Petak, 49, of Mattoon following an investigation conducted by the Mattoon Police Department.
Petak and her appointed attorney, Stephanie Corum, could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Mattoon Deputy Chief Sam Gaines said Petak, who is a former Illinois State Police trooper and was a Mattoon auxiliary officer before that, voluntarily turned herself into custody on Friday after a warrant was issued for her arrest earlier that day. Petak was released from the Coles County jail on Tuesday after posting the $2,500 bond amount that was set in her case. Her next court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 20.
Gaines said the charge alleges that Petak shook the 6-month-old boy, referred to as K.K. in the court file, while he was in her care on Jan. 23. Gaines said the infant’s mother subsequently picked him up early from the daycare that day after hearing he was sick and she then took him to Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center. K.K. was later transferred to St. Louis Children’s Hospital.
Sarah Bush Lincoln’s medical staff contacted the police due to K.K.’s symptoms of vomiting and lethargy and the absence of visible outside trauma being indicative of brain bleed caused by “shaken baby” type injuries, Gaines said. St. Louis staff later determined that the infant was suffering from brain bruising and a bilateral retinal hemorrhage that would cause symptoms to occur within an hour of him being shaken, he said.
“That really helped us narrow down the time frame,” Gaines said.
The deputy chief said this medical information prompted investigators with the Mattoon Police Department to meet with Petak on Feb. 4 for another interview, during which she reportedly admitted to shaking the infant. He said the police then turned their investigation report over to the state’s attorney’s office to review for possible charges in court.
K.K.’s mother has discussed the case and gave an update on her son’s condition to WCIA this week, saying that he is now doing much better and is showing strong signs of recovery. She could not be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon (JG-TC is waiting to name K.K. and his mother until they can be contacted directly).
Gaines said the infant is doing well since his release from the hospital but cautioned that “shaken baby” injuries can produce health issues in subsequent years, such as seizures or speech impediments.
“They are just going to have to give it time and see what happens when the boy grows up a little bit to see if there are any issues,” Gaines said.