In Colorado Springs, Lt. David Whitlock tells news reporters that Melvin Tipton is suspected of abusing and killing 21 month old Charles Hickerson, III on February 1, 2006. News stories report that Lucille Hickerson picked her son up from Tipton’s home. She noticed bruising on his head. Shortly afterwards, the toddler became unresponsive and had a respiratory arrest. She took him to Penrose Community Hospital. He was transferred to Denver Children’s Hospital.  

Tipton was arrested on August 5, 2008.  The investigation into the death of the toddler was lengthy. 

According to the CDC, 1,490 children died from abuse and neglect in the Unites States for the year 2004. This number decreased in 2005 to 1,460 deaths. Greater than 75% of these deaths occurred in children under four years of age. A total of 872,000 children were reportedly abused in that same time frame. In 2005, child protective services investigated 3.6 million cases of reported child abuse complaints, which resulted in discovery of 899,000 cases of child abuse. Higher rates of abuse occur in the African-American population at 1,950 per 100,000 children. Girls are at a higher risk to be victims of maltreatment than boys. Mothers have demonstrated a more frequency tendency to abuse and are generally younger in age than male adult abusers. However male adult abusers inflict more severe abuse outcomes.   

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is caused by a traumatic event affecting the head and brain of an accident, or non-accidental assault, victim. The most common causes of traumatic brain injuries are car accidents and falls, making up approximately 70% of head injury victims. Violence and contact sports cause about 20% of traumatic brain injuries. According to NIND statistics approximately, 180 – 250 per 100,000 are victims of traumatic brain injury per year. Males are at higher risk than females for traumatic brain injury. 

The injury occurs when the victim is hit by an object, or impacts on object, and or experiences significant force to the brain from speed and sudden deceleration. Traumatic brain injury may occur without actual physical contact with an object. Immediately following traumatic head injury, a victim may lose consciousness; have nausea, vomiting, amnesia, slurred speech, difficulty swallowing, respiratory problems, weakness, in one, or all, areas of the body and may also have convulsions. Some victims die as a result of significant severe brain injury.  


Christopher Keane
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California Child Abuse and Child Injury Lawyer
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Melva Tipton 05/29/2009 04:56 PM
It's too bad no one knows this child fell down the stairs at home the day before and fell at a basketball game the night before and hit his head on the bleachers. There is no justice in Colorado.
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