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Cheyenne police: Couple caused brain bleed, other severe injuries to toddler

CHEYENNE — A local couple charged with attempted murder inflicted injuries severe enough for multiple bones in the 2-year-old boy’s leg to shatter and for his eyes to swell completely shut, among other injuries, according to court documents.

Cheyenne residents Hannah Wingert, 20, and boyfriend Joshua Moody, 21, were arrested Friday, two days after officers with the Cheyenne Police Department were called to perform a welfare check on Wingert’s son.

Wingert and Moody are being charged with attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse (responsible for welfare, physical injury). Attempted murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison or death, and aggravated child abuse carries a maximum sentences of 25 years imprisonment and/or a $10,000 fine.

According to court documents, on Aug. 23, Kara Wingert picked up her step-daughter, Hannah, along with Moody and the child, from a motel room where they were staying.

According to a signed probable cause statement by CPD Officer Damon Hall, Kara Wingert said the child “looked horrible,” with significant bruising and injuries to his face and arms. She also said the boy was wearing a “homemade brace” on his right leg.

Kara Wingert decided to call CPD and the Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) at this point, police said.

Hannah Wingert told officers that the boy’s injuries were the result of an ear infection, and he had fallen multiple times in the shower and off of his bed. Later assessments by doctors at Denver Children’s Hospital found multiple severe injuries consistent with “non-accidental trauma.”

She told police her son “has a history of self-harm and frequently throws himself into objects and off objects,” according to court documents.

The child, identified in court documents as “C.W.,” was taken to Cheyenne Regional Medical Center for an initial assessment, after which he was flown by helicopter to Children’s Hospital. At that time, the injuries were described as “life-threatening and serious enough to be fatal.”

Doctors observed the child had a large brain bleed and accompanying internal bleeding. He also had pancreatitis, with injuries to his kidney and lacerations on his liver. Both of the child’s eardrums were also ruptured.

Upon further observation, doctors found that the tibia and fibula in the child’s right leg were shattered, with multiple fractures to both bones. The child’s eyes were both swollen shut, and he was unable to see when he arrived in Denver.

High levels of liver and kidney enzymes indicated trauma to both organs, doctors told CPD.

Hannah Wingert was interviewed by police about her child’s injuries when he was initially being examined at CRMC. There, she reportedly told police the only injuries she was aware of were to his leg, which she described as a sprained ankle, and a bump on his head.

She told police she took the child to the hospital on Aug. 21, two days prior to the welfare check, but Hall reported that there were no records indicating a hospital visit since June.

Charging documents also say that Hall received a voicemail from Moody on Thursday, Aug. 24, in which he said Hannah Wingert “admitted to everything” and had caused all the injuries to the child. Hall wrote that Moody had no documents or proof to support this claim.

A DFS social worker told Hall on Friday that she spoke to Hannah Wingert on the phone.

The social worker told the detective that Hannah Wingert said that she and she alone was responsible for C.W.’s injuries.

Hall’s report went on to say that Hannah Wingert told the social worker that she was bipolar and would often “black out.” She reportedly told the social worker she didn’t remember causing any injuries.

In an interview with the CPD, Moody denied seeing any other injuries to the child apart from the eye and leg injuries. He told detectives later in the interview that he was in a motel room with Hannah Wingert and her child, and he had witnessed abuse taking place.

“Joshua said Hannah had punched C.W. multiple times with a closed fist in the head and had seen her begin to hit C.W.,” the report read. “Joshua indicated Hannah is frequently upset, as C.W. is often sick or injured, and she gets very upset with him. Joshua stated on the morning of (Aug. 23), Hannah began beating C.W. and struck him multiple times while he was lying in bed.”

Moody described, graphically, an incident where he said Hannah Wingert swung her son and beat him, before covering his mouth to stop him from screaming.

Earlier, Moody had denied being present for any occasions where he saw Hannah Wingert strike her son, but he later told police he had observed multiple occasions of abuse. He told police he was “scared” of Hannah Wingert and her “mental stuff.”

He claimed to police that Hannah Wingert physically threatened him and demanded he not tell anyone about witnessing child abuse.

Police officers had previously received an anonymous report of child neglect and narcotics use around the child on Aug. 20. At that time, CPD officers didn’t note any suspicious or concerning injuries to the child. Officers did find Hannah Wingert and her son living in a car belonging to Moody at that time.

Police arrested both Wingert and Moody on Friday, and their arrests were announced in a CPD news release on Saturday.

Hannah Wingert and Moody will have their initial appearances Thursday morning in Laramie County Circuit Court. Their preliminary hearings are scheduled for next Tuesday.

This story was published on August 31, 2023.

 
 
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