A South St. Paul woman has been charged with felony child neglect and felony child endangerment after her 10-day-old son suffered fractures to his eye sockets and bleeding on the front and back of his brain, according to court documents filed in Dakota County District Court.

Jennifer A. Pickar, 30, is being held in the county jail in lieu of $20,000 bail. The criminal complaint told this story:

When Pickar went to the emergency room of a St. Paul hospital on the afternoon of Jan. 1 to seek treatment for tremors, a nurse there noticed that the boy, born Dec. 21, appeared to have two black eyes. The baby, identified in the complaint by the initials J.K.K., was taken to the intensive care unit at Children's Hospital in Minneapolis, where the extent of his injuries became clear. His condition worsened to the point that he needed a breathing tube and a shunt was surgically inserted into his skull to reduce swelling.

"Multiple surgeries are anticipated to repair the fractures to J.K.K.'s orbits and he will potentially experience significant deficits due to the magnitude of his injuries," the complaint said. "Without medical intervention, J.K.K. would likely have died."

Pickar told authorities on Jan. 1 that she noticed the bruises to the baby's eyes when she woke up about 7:30 a.m. with the baby tucked under her left arm. She said he looked fine when she gave him a bottle about 3 that morning, then fell asleep. She denied inflicting the injuries.

Two days later, Pickar told investigators that the baby was crying and was tucked under her right arm when she woke up. She said she has a history of seizures and believed that she "must have suffered a seizure [during the night] where she hit herself and J.K.K. on the metal crib that was next to the bed," the complaint said.

Pickar pointed out bruising on her face and right arm that hadn't been visible on Jan. 1. She had no explanation for why the baby had bruises on his left ear if his right side hit the crib. She didn't explain why she believed it was safe for her son to sleep in her bed if she had a history of seizures.

Pickar's mother told police that Pickar told her the baby was injured when she had a seizure and dropped him, then told her that she had a seizure and rolled around in bed and hit the baby.

Pat Pheifer • 952-746-3284