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California teen dad suspected of biting off crying baby's nose

Reuters

By Laila Kearney

San Francisco (Reuters) - A northern California teen-age father has been arrested on suspicion of biting off the tip of his infant son's nose in a fit of rage over the child's crying, police said on Friday.

Joshua Cooper, 18, was booked into jail on Thursday on suspicion of child cruelty and aggravated mayhem over the incident in the city of Fairfield, northeast of San Francisco.

Police were alerted to the incident following a "hysterical" call from the newborn boy's 17-year-old mother on Thursday, and first responders found the baby bleeding from his nose, Fairfield police spokesman Troy Oviatt said in a press release.

"One third of the child's nose had been severed off," Oviatt said, adding that the child was rushed to a local hospital and later transferred to the Children's Hospital and Research Center in Oakland due to the severity of his injuries.

The baby's skull was also fractured, and his brain was hemorrhaging, according to Fairfield police Sergeant Samuel Rowland. But he said investigators did not yet know the cause of those injuries.

Rowland declined to comment on the condition of the child other than to say he was alive and had been stabilized. Calls to the hospital were not immediately returned. Child welfare services have been called to review the baby's home life, Rowland said.

"They will conduct their investigation and determine what is safe for the child," Rowland said.

Cooper, who will be arraigned on Monday, has not yet been appointed a public defender, authorities said.

The allegations against him carry a maximum sentence of life in state prison with the possibility of parole.

(Editing by Sharon Bernstein and Chris Reese)

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