Pontiac father accused of shaking 3-month-old baby charged with abuse

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Pontiac — A 25-year-old father has been charged with child abuse for allegedly shaking his 3-month-old son so hard the baby is in critical condition at a hospital.

Henry Rick Howard of Pontiac was arraigned Tuesday in 50th District in Pontiac on a charge of first-degree child abuse in connection with the alleged incident, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said Wednesday.


A judge ordered Howard held at the Oakland County Jail on a $75,000 bond and scheduled his next court appearance for Jan. 27.

If convicted, he faces up to life in prison.

Investigators accuse Howard of shaking his baby because he was crying.

Detectives with the sheriff's office said child protective services contacted them about the incident Friday.

According to a preliminary investigation, Howard took his son to a Pontiac hospital Jan. 11 because the infant was unresponsive and had no pulse.

Hospital staff airlifted the baby to Children’s Hospital in Detroit due to the severity of his injuries, officials said. Doctors told investigators the child had multiple injuries that indicated child abuse.

Detectives questioned Howard and the baby's biological mother. Both denied any wrongdoing, officials said.

Police determined the child's mother was at work at the time of the alleged incident and Howard was the only person taking care of the baby when he was injured.

During a second interview, Howard told deputies he became frustrated with the baby’s crying and shook him several times.

"These types of cases are so incredibly sad," Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a statement.

"There is never an excuse to hurt a child and this person will be held accountable."

Officials also said Howard has several prior felony convictions, including a 2017 conviction for carrying a concealed weapon and fleeing and eluding police as well as a 2018 conviction for fleeing and eluding police.


Twitter: @CharlesERamirez