Babysitter accused of causing severe head trauma to 18-month-old

AUSTIN, TX (KXAN) — Nearly a year after a toddler was rushed to the hospital when he stopped breathing, authorities are charging his babysitter, Ashley Crabtree, 38, with injury to a child.

On Nov. 19, 2015, a woman called 911 because her 18-month-old grandson was having medical issues. When police arrived at the South Austin home, the grandmother told officers she had just picked up her grandson from Crabtree’s home when she noticed he was not “feeling like his normal self.” In the affidavit, the grandmother described the child as lethargic and said that his hands were cold.

While walking to the car, the grandmother noticed the child’s eyes rolled back, continued in the affidavit. Before leaving, the grandmother said she asked Crabtree if he ate something that would make him react this way but during the conversation, the child stopped breathing.

The toddler had a fractured shoulder blade, bruises, and hemorrhaging in the brain that shifted it off-center.

When EMS arrived, they immediately noted a bruise above the boy’s left ear, which they say was suspicious because Crabtree did not seem to know what happened to him. When Crabtree was questioned by police, she initially said she had left the child in a playpen and that he fell but it was nothing serious.

When police went to the hospital to check on the victim, the child’s mother told them she had been texting Crabtree. The babysitter told the mom the boy fell down some steps outside the home, but that she didn’t think it was serious because “he barely cried.” The affidavit states this was the first time police heard about the child falling down stairs even though they asked her multiple times what happened while she was watching him.

Staff at Dell Children’s Medical Center told police the boy’s brain was bleeding and he had indications of internal trauma. He also had a fractured shoulder blade, bruises, and hemorrhaging in the brain that shifted it off-center. A doctor who specializes in child abuse care noted his injuries were consistent with physical abuse.

Crabtree is not currently in custody at this time. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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