Toddler in grave condition from alleged child assault in Suitland -- Gazette.Net


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A 2-year-old is fighting for his life after a Capitol Heights man allegedly assaulted the toddler while under his direct care Wednesday — and Prince George’s police said the man has admitted to the abuse.

Clifton Edward Bernard, 26, of the 4200 block of Rail Street in Capitol Heights, was arrested Wednesday morning after police responded to a home in the 3800 block of Swann Road in Suitland for an “unresponsive child” report.

Christina Cotterman, a county police spokeswoman, said Bernard called 911 himself after the alleged abuse.

Patrol officers responded to find the child in critical condition with several injuries to his body, including head trauma, Cotterman said.

Bernard is the boyfriend of the child’s biological mother, according to police, and Cotterman said he was the only one home at the time of the incident while the mother was away at work.

Cotterman did not say what sparked the alleged assault.

“It’s all part of the investigation. He just admitted to assaulting and abusing while being interviewed by detectives,” she said.

The child remains hospitalized in critical condition, police said.

Bernard is charged with attempted murder, first- and second-degree child abuse and first- and second-degree assault.

He is currently being held in the county’s department of corrections without bond.

A defense attorney for Bernard is not yet listed in online county court records, but records show he is set for a preliminary hearing June 18.

A phone number for Bernard’s residence could not be located.

djgross@gazette.net