Yakima Police generic

A Yakima Police Department patrol car.

An 18-year-old Yakima man is accused of breaking the leg of his infant son.

Yakima police were called to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital on Jan. 17 after the man and his girlfriend brought their 5-week-old son to the hospital with a broken leg. The boy’s mother told police she had showered with the boy and handed him to his father to dress him, according to a probable cause affidavit.

She said the man told her that when he had lifted the baby’s legs to put his diaper on, that he heard a “pop” from the baby’s left leg and bruises started to appear, and they brought the baby to the hospital, the affidavit said.

Hospital staff said that the baby’s injury, a broken thigh bone, was not consistent with what the parents said happened. Doctors and detectives said the bruising on the baby’s leg that could have been caused by a thumb and fingers.

Police also found that the man’s re-enactment of what happened using a doll could not have broken the leg, the affidavit said. The baby and his 1-year-old brother were placed in state custody, the affidavit said.

The baby was later taken to Seattle Children’s Hospital for surgery to repair the broken leg, as well as further examination for potential child abuse, according to the affidavit. Physicians at the Seattle hospital said the thigh bone break appeared to be caused by a twisting action and are consistent with child abuse, the affidavit said.

Doctors also found the boy had a break in his right shin bone that appeared to be an older injury.

State Child Protective Services investigators said the older boy also had marks that looked like bruises on his buttocks, the affidavit said, but investigators were not able to determine what the marks were.

At a preliminary appearance hearing, Yakima County Superior Court Judge Richard Bartheld set bail at $25,000, noting the type of injuries did not appear to be accidental.

“There was significant trauma inflicted on this 5-week-old child, and lifting his legs to change a diaper wouldn’t cause that,” Bartheld said. While the man is legally an adult, Bartheld suggested that he might be too young to be a parent.

“We have babies raising babies,” Bartheld said.

Reach Donald W. Meyers at dmeyers@yakimaherald.com or on Twitter: donaldwmeyers, or https://www.facebook.com/donaldwmeyersjournalist.