Charges: 13-day-old baby unlikely to survive injuries inflicted by Apple Valley father

The Apple Valley man is being held on $1 million bail.
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Michael Anthony Herkal

Michael Anthony Herkal

A 32-year-old Apple Valley man is suspected of inflicting life-threatening injuries on his 13-day-old baby. 

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced Tuesday that Michael Anthony Herkal of Apple Valley has been charged with first-degree assault and malicious punishment of a child – both felonies – as a result of the baby's injuries. 

Apple Valley police were called to Herkal's home around 7:30 p.m. Sunday on a report of the baby boy not breathing. Upon arrival, officers and paramedics found the infant not breathing, without pulse, with blue lips and his extremities were turning purple. 

They administered life-saving efforts and transported the baby to Fairview Ridges Hospital where doctors diagnosed the infant with a skull fracture and bleeding on the brain.

He was transferred to Children's Masonic Hospital, and as of Tuesday he had been diagnosed with a "diffused brain injury as a result of trauma to his head coupled with prolonged lack of oxygen," Backstrom said. 

Sadly, the boy is only breathing with assistance and is not expected to survive. 

Herkal, who will face additional charges if the baby dies, told police that his 2-year-old son had pulled the baby off the couch twice, but later changed his story to say that the baby wouldn't stop kicking during a diaper change so he squeezed the infant's body, and that the baby slipped out of his hands, falling and hitting a coffee table. 

Investigators searched Herkal's cell phone and discovered that Google searches for "someone threw a baby on the floor," "baby breathing hard," and "noisy baby breathing: what's normal and what's not," among other searches, were conducted about one hour and 20 minutes before he called 911. 

Herkal is being held on $1 million bail without conditions. His next court appearance is scheduled for Aug. 23. 

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