Fort Campbell couple accused of child neglect after baby found with burns, skull fracture
Stars and Stripes May 4, 2023
A couple from Fort Campbell faces felony charges of neglect stemming from life-threatening injuries to their baby that may have occurred at the base on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, federal prosecutors said this week.
Andrew Garasich and Lyndsey Bustamante, both 27, were arrested Wednesday after the infant had been treated in a hospital with severe burns and a skull fracture, a statement the same day from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Tennessee said.
The statement did not mention Garasich’s service details. However, a Defense Department directory shows a soldier with the same name as a sergeant at Fort Campbell, working for U.S. Army Forces Command.
A federal grand jury indicted the couple Monday on felony charges of aggravated child neglect, which carries a minimum sentence of 15 years in prison, the statement said.
Police began investigating after Bustamante brought her baby to a Tennessee hospital on Jan. 4, 2023, with second- and third-degree burns, according to a motion filed Wednesday by U.S. Attorney Henry Leventis.
Bustamante said the burns occurred while Garasich was giving the child a bath, according to court documents.
The baby was airlifted to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville, where doctors discovered a skull fracture, court papers said.
Over the subsequent months, the child was treated for kidney failure, liver failure, internal bleeding and sepsis, the documents said.
The baby was discharged from the hospital but will require further treatment and physical therapy for years, according to prosecutors.
Because the alleged crimes may have occurred at Fort Campbell, the defendants are facing trial in a Tennessee court under the Assimilative Crimes Act, the Wednesday statement from the U.S. attorney’s office said.
The legislation applies state law to criminal conduct on federal lands, such as military bases, for which there are no applicable federal statutes. Child abuse is one such crime.