Former Tomahawk resident Henry Robert Hughes found not guilty in 2016 death of infant son
By Jalen Maki
Tomahawk Leader Editor
MERRILL – A former Tomahawk resident charged in the 2016 death of his infant son was found not guilty by a Lincoln County jury on Wednesday, June 1.
The jury found Henry Robert Hughes not guilty of one felony count of first-degree reckless homicide and one felony count of child abuse after nearly seven hours of deliberation.
The verdict comes after Hughes’s trial had been delayed multiple times over the last several years.
Hughes, now 26, was 20 years old at the time of his infant son River’s death.
According to a Tomahawk Police Department Incident Report filed on Nov. 2, 2016, Hughes and his wife, River’s mother, brought River into the Tomahawk Ministry Health Care Emergency Room at approximately 6:15 p.m. on Sept. 4, 2016. Hughes and River’s mother stated River had started coughing and stopped breathing, and Hughes had administered CPR.
Hughes later told Tomahawk police officers that he was making dinner when River began to cry, so he laid River in his crib. Hughes said that after River began to choke and turn blue, he administered CPR, and a white fluid began coming out of the infant’s mouth. Hughes then called the River’s mother, who was at work at the time of the incident, and the two took the infant to the hospital, according to the report.
The report stated that officers told Hughes that River’s injuries were not consistent with his story, and that the injuries River had sustained occur when an infant is shaken or dropped.
Johanna Miller, a social worker employed by the Lincoln County Social Services Department, told officers that the River’s injuries consisted of a subdural hematoma of the brain, a metaphyseal ankle fracture and bi-lateral fractures to the ribs.
Dr. Kristen Iniguez of Marshfield Clinic described River’s injuries as “severe high velocity injuries,” previously known as Shaken Baby Syndrome, and stated that she believed the injuries to the River’s head and brain were due to abusive head trauma.
River died on Sept. 18, 2016, after being in a coma. He was 23 days old.
Hughes was taken into custody by the Tomahawk Police Department on Nov. 1, 2016.
Hughes denied dropping the infant and told investigators the injuries River had sustained may have occurred while he was administering CPR.