A 23-year-old man from Brainerd, Minn., was charged Monday with attempted murder; he’s accused of poisoning a 4-month-old baby with antifreeze fluid.
Jeffrey Ryan Thomas, 23, was charged in Crow Wing County District Court with first-degree premeditated attempted murder, second-degree attempted murder and first-degree assault. According to the criminal complaint, Thomas allegedly poisoned the infant girl after his wife became upset that he apparently fathered the child with another woman.
The baby was put in the care of Thomas, also known as Jeffrey Ryan Shanks, shortly after her birth and following a child protection proceeding in Carlton County, the complaint said. Thomas, who has yet to complete a paternity test, told his wife and police investigators that he is not the baby’s father, but the girl’s mother has told investigators that he is.
According to the criminal complaint:
Thomas told police he fed the baby from a bottle at 1 a.m. on Jan. 18 and she later vomited several times and refused food. More than 12 hours later, Thomas and his wife took the baby to the hospital in Crosby, Minn. From there, she was immediately airlifted to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis in critical condition.
Hospital tests showed that the baby had ingested ethylene glycol, which is commonly found in antifreeze and de-icing fluids, according to the complaint.
Although police feared the girl would die, she survived and was discharged Feb. 9, almost three weeks after the incident. She was then placed in foster care.
Thomas and his wife told police they didn’t have antifreeze in their home. Using a search warrant, police later found a jug of antifreeze in the basement; tests on the bottle used to feed the baby showed that it contained formula and ethanol — an antidote to ethylene glycol poisoning, according to the complaint.
Authorities searched Thomas’ phone and found a Google search on Jan. 12 that read: “what does antifreeze do to the human body.” Thomas told police he typed in the question because his mother’s cat was sick and he suspected it was from antifreeze.
Bail for Thomas, who remains in Crow Wing County Jail, was set at $750,000 Monday without conditions.