East Ala. foster parents charged with child abuse after toddler suffers brain bleed

East Ala. foster parents charged with child abuse after toddler suffers brain bleed
John and April McDowell, charged with aggravated child abuse (Source: Russell County Sheriff's Office)

FORT MITCHELL, Ala. (WTVM) - A pair of Russell County foster parents are behind bars on aggravated child abuse charges after a toddler suffered injuries consistent with abuse.

EMS crews responded to Old Glory Way in Fort Mitchell on Aug. 22 to reports of a toddler going in and out of consciousness. The child was taken to Piedmont Columbus Regional where it was determined the child had suffered a fractured skull and a brain bleed.

Russell County sheriff’s deputies spoke with the guardians, John and April McDowell, who had been foster parents to the toddler since May 2020. Deputies determined the child’s injuries were not consistent with the story given to them by the McDowells.

Investigators obtained warrants for both John and April McDowell on Aug. 27 to charge them with aggravated child abuse. John McDowell was arrested later the same day on Ft. Benning by the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division and April McDowell was arrested at their residence in Ft. Mitchell.

Investigators say medical reports show the toddler had multiple wounds in different stages of healing that were not consistent with normal injuries for a toddler, but were consistent with abuse.

Fort Benning officials confirm that John McDowell holds the rank of Master Sergeant as an active duty Infantry Soldier in the U.S. Army and is based at Ft. Benning.

Both John and April McDowell are currently being held in the Russell County Jail.

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