AUSTIN (KXAN) — Bruises found on a seven-month-old boy led to the eventual arrest of his daycare worker, Austin police said.
Jessica Ruth, 28, is now facing a felony charge of injury to a child. Jail records in Williamson County show that she was booked and released on Aug. 24 after posting $2,000 bail.
According to an arrest affidavit filed by a child abuse detective at the Austin Police Department, the boy’s parents noticed “bruising on both sides of the victim’s rib cage and back” when they brought him home on June 27 from the Stepping Stone School, located at 7700 W. Parmer Lane.
The affidavit states the boy went to two different hospitals, and one facility’s child abuse team later told the detective the “bruising had indications of palm and fingerprints.”
On June 28, the day after the injuries were discovered, the detective and an investigator from Child Protective Services visited the daycare. They stated in the affidavit the principal “identified Jessica L. Ruth as the primary care taker for the victim” at the school.
Ruth told the investigators at that time that she did not notice “any bruising, cuts, or injuries” while she handled the boy at school, which led the detective to report in the affidavit that he believed the injuries happened there and not at home.
During another interview on July 24, the detective wrote in the affidavit he “told Ruth that after talking to everyone, it was my belief that she caused the bruising to the victim. Ruth stated, ‘I just don’t remember holding him like that, like that hard.’ She did not deny or object to my accusation.”
According to the affidavit, the officer stated Ruth began crying and said “she felt so bad.”
“Ruth stated she may have picked up the victim a little too hard when she picked him up out of the saucer chair,” the affidavit stated. “Ruth stated she felt guilty for hurting the victim.”
The detective later wrote that Ruth said “no” when he directly asked if she meant to hurt the boy.
The officer concluded in the affidavit that “Jessica Ruth committed an injury to a child when she acted recklessly and her actions were a gross deviation from the standard care given to a child the victim’s age.”
The Stepping Stone School released the following statement to KXAN regarding the accusations facing Ruth:
“The wellbeing and safety of the children in our care is our highest priority. We have cooperated fully and will continue to cooperate fully in this matter. We continue to do everything possible to ensure the safety of the children in our schools. Our employee selection process is very stringent and we strictly follow all regulations set forth by the state. “
The school also confirmed that Ruth is no longer employed there.
KXAN reached out Wednesday to Ruth’s defense attorney, but he never responded to the request for comment.