Prosecutor: Parents Likely To Face More Charges - NBC4: Columbus, Ohio News, Weather, and Sports (WCMH-TV)

Prosecutor: Parents Accused Of Abuse Likely To Face More Charges

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COSHOCTON, Ohio -

The parents of a 3-month-old boy who was burned, bitten and abused will likely face additional charges.

Kelsey Starkey, 20, and Christopher Starkey, 22, are charged with felony counts of child endangering. The charges were filed after Kelsey's mother called children services when she saw cigarette burns on her grandson's forehead.

The director of the Coshocton County Job and Family Services said they reached out to the couple before the case of abuse.

Kelsey said their first encounter with job and family services occurred when their son was born. Neither Kelsey nor Christopher had jobs or a place to live, and the agency became concerned about their child's welfare.

That's when Kelsey's mother took the family in.

Job and family services Director Mindy Fehrman said the baby is healing in a foster home after sustaining numerous intern and external injuries.

Coshocton County authorities said the boy was hospitalized in Akron. The 13-pound baby sustained right femur and fibula fractures, along with 12 fractured ribs.

Both parents admitted to committing the abuse in jailhouse interviews with NBC4's Denise Alex.

Kelsey said she got frustrated with her son and took it out on him.

"I picked him up around the ribcage and hit his head against the swing," Kelsey said. "I went to change his diaper and he was moving his leg a lot, so I picked up his leg and then put it down too hard and his leg got broke."

Christopher Starkey said during the interview that he takes responsibility for the bites and burns to the child. He said that he burned the child with a cigarette in the forehead several times when the boy wouldn't stop crying.

Fehrman said the agency's goal is to keep a child with his or her parents or family if possible.

"In this case, that may or may not be possible, depending on the outcomes of the criminal investigations and whether or not the child will be safe. [It's] always our prioriy to make sure the child is in a safe environment," Fehrman said.

"I would rather him be with my mom," Kelsey said.

When asked if she thought she was fit to be a parent, Kelsey told NBC4, "Not right now."

Kelsey said her family lived with her mom, who was not aware of the abuse.

If you suspect child abuse, Ohio has a new statewide tip hotline at 855-OH-CHILD.

Anonymous tips can be made and the hotline will connect callers to the county where the suspected abuse occurred.

If convicted, Kelsey and Christopher Starkey face up to eight years in prison.

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