Couple arrested on charges of seriously injuring 2-year-old

Dan McDonald
Managing Editor

Two Portola residents were arrested Thursday on charges of cruelty to a child.

Jessica Nicole White, 21, and Eric Charles McDowell, 20, were charged with causing traumatic brain injuries to White’s 2-year-old daughter on Oct. 3, 2012.

The injuries left the girl with swelling on her brain and required emergency brain surgery at UC Davis Medical Center. The girl spent several weeks under intensive care.

According to a joint press release from the Plumas County Sheriff and District Attorney, surgeons said the child’s injury was caused by blunt-force trauma. The surgeons said it was not a case of “shaken baby syndrome” or some type of medical condition.

According to Sheriff’s Investigations Sgt. Steve Peay, both White and McDowell were interviewed several times after the incident “and have offered no plausible explanation as to how the child received such an injury that would cause her condition.”

White and her husband, McDowell, who is the girl’s stepfather, were arrested at their Portola residence at 349 W. Loyalton Ave. #19. They were transferred to the Plumas County jail where they were booked and held on $50,000 bail.

The victim is in the custody of her biological father.

More details are expected to be reported in Wednesday’s editions of Feather Publishing newspapers.

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