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Prescott Dad Accused of Abusing 9-Month-Old Baby

Prescott Valley police have arrested a 39-year-old man who's accused of brutally abusing his 9-month-old child, CBS News reports.

Prescott police were called to the infant's home after the child was reportedly having difficulty breathing. Ryan Johnson, the father of the infant, has been charged with child abuse and aggravated assault, authorities say.

Police responded to a call to Johnson's house, reporting that a child there was having trouble breathing. They found the child in critical condition and transported the infant to Yavapai Regional Medical Center. The child was then transferred to Phoenix Children's Hospital, where doctors discovered subdural hematoma on the side of the infant's head, a skull fracture, and strained neck ligaments.

Investigators interviewed Johnson, who was caring for the child at the time of the incident. According to authorities, Johnson couldn't explain the injuries and denied any involvement. He was arrested and charged with child abuse and two counts of aggravated assault.

Under Arizona' criminal code, any person who injures, confines, or damages the health of a child can be charged with child abuse. If done so intentionally, child abuse is a class 2 felony. If convicted of the child abuse charge, Johnson could spend anywhere from 10 to 24 years in prison.

Any person who assaults a minor who's under the age of 15, as is alleged in Johnson's case, can be charged with aggravated assault. Assault doesn't require that the defendant actually make contact with the victim. As long as the victim is placed in fear of immediate physical contact, the defendant can be charged with assault. Assault against a minor is a class 2 felony in the state.

Ryan Johnson has been booked into Yavapai County Jail. He's currently being held on $500,000 bond. The investigation of Johnson's child abuse allegations is still ongoing.

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