LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Injuries to a 4-month-old boy who died after his father took him to a fire station in “unresponsive condition” indicate a history of child abuse, according to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department documents obtained by the I-Team.
Those injuries include two brain bleeds, rib fractures, blood in the lungs, a possible lacerated spleen and extensive retinal hemorrhages, police said in arresting documents.
Levi Rangel died Sept. 16. His cause of death is listed as abusive head trauma. A doctor told police Levi “had been ‘shaken and beaten to death,'” the report said.
His parents — both 20 years old — are facing charges in the boy’s death. Mykeal Rangel, his father, faces a first-degree murder charge. Both Mykeal and Brooke Rangel, the boy’s mother, face charges of child abuse with severe bodily harm and allowing child abuse with severe bodily harm.
In an interview with police, Mykeal Rangel described “a parent’s hell” after 48 hours with the child, who refused to eat, screamed nonstop, refused to go to sleep, “and only wanted to be held,” according to documents.
He told police he dealt with the stress by going outside to smoke cigarettes, “smoke a dab (THC extract), or hit a punching dummy.” He said Brooke handled it by giving the child to her mother, yelling at Levi, walking out and slamming doors.
The couple’s descriptions of squeezing the child are disturbing.
“Mykeal ‘hugged’ Levi until he made the strained noise he makes when he is squeezed. Mykeal loosened his grip and Levi fell asleep,” according to police documents containing the interviews.
The retinal hemorrhages are evidence that the baby was shaken, doctors said. The Clark County Department of Family Services has no prior history with the child or family.
In court Monday, prosecutors said Lehman had plenty of warning to stop the alleged abuse, citing her knowledge in text messages.
“She wouldn’t intervene,” Chief Deputy District Attorney Michelle Jobe said in court. “She wouldn’t do anything on behalf of this child, which is part of the reason that this child is dead.”
Attorneys for Rangel and Lehman said they both have lived in Las Vegas their entire lives and that there is not enough evidence to presume guilt.
Rangel was being held Tuesday without bail. A judge set Lehman’s bail at $25,000. She was released on bond. Both are due in court again in October.