Fairbanks man charged with assaulting infant, woman

Posted: Sunday, March 17, 2002

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A Fairbanks man was indicted Wednesday on charges he stuck his fingers down the throat of his 7-week-old daughter and that he choked his girlfriend, the child's mother.

Durwanzle M. Cooper, 26, was charged with assault for life-threatening injuries the child suffered Feb. 22. He also was charged with assaulting the child's mother Nov. 13.

Fairbanks Police Sgt. Jim Geier said the girl had injuries of blunt force trauma to the back of her throat that swelled to the point that her airway became restricted.

The child, who had started spitting up blood, was taken by ambulance to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital. Police were summoned to the emergency room after hospital personnel concluded the injuries were suspicious.

The infant was flown to Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage.

''While at the hospital the child was found to have a fractured left arm, and while she was in intensive care the child came down with pneumonia,'' Geier said.

Geier did not know the girl's condition but said it has been improving.

Cooper admitted to sticking his two fingers down the infant's throat, Geier said.

''He was angry and frustrated that she wouldn't stop crying,'' he said.

During the investigation, allegations surfaced that he assaulted the child's mother, Geier said.

That incident was not reported initially, but the woman had scars consistent with fingernails digging into her neck, Geier said. Another person witnessed the assault, Geier said.

Cooper has been in jail on a fugitive from justice warrant from Florida for a charge of probation violation on original charges of burglary and sexual assault, Geier said.

On March 6, Cooper was indicted on three felony counts of forgery, one count of theft and two misdemeanor counts of thefts related to check forging.



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