Nashua toddler still in critical condition
NASHUA - The family of 2-year-old Devon Gould has been spending as much time as possible alongside his hospital bed, praying the child will overcome serious brain injuries following an alleged beating by his mother.
Devon remains in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital, according to a family spokesman. His mother, Unique S. Gould, 21, of 8 Ash Court, has been arrested and charged with first-degree assault in the incident.
"His condition is still the same. It has not changed," Christopher Smart said of the boy's health. Smart is Unique Gould's uncle and a great-uncle to Devon, who turned 2 in March.
When questioned about the allegations against his niece, Smart said his comments are limited because it is still an active criminal investigation, adding the family is trying the best it can to make sense of the situation.
"The beating of a child - or whatever the case may be - we as a family are focusing our thoughts and prayers and attention on the baby," Smart told the New Hampshire Union Leader this week, providing a photograph of a smiling, blond-haired baby boy who is now fighting for his life. "Maybe this is child abuse, maybe it is not. We are speaking out to try and break the cycle and encourage others to reach out and get help so that this doesn't happen to anyone else."
Devon underwent surgery after "significant head trauma and inter-cranial bleeding" was found by doctors, according to court documents.
According to a police affidavit on file at the 9th Circuit Court, Nashua District Division, an AMR ambulance arrived at Gould's Nashua residence on April 26 because she was having trouble waking her son.
Devon was transported to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center and eventually to Massachusetts General Hospital because of the severe brain injury, says court documents.
Smart said he could not elaborate on Devon's health status, other than to say he remains in critical condition.
"This has become a very strenuous circumstance. It has been very stressful on everyone," he said, adding most of the boy's relatives live in New Hampshire and have been carpooling frequently to spend time at the Massachusetts hospital with Devon.
Details of what led to Devon's condition are still sketchy. Police have not elaborated on the case, but court records indicate that Gould was interviewed by two detectives, at which time she allegedly acknowledged spanking her son on Thursday evening, the day before emergency crews arrived at her home.
"She admitted that she struck (him) numerous times on his buttocks, and confirmed that she also struck him in the head with her hand. Gould made admissions that she 'blacked out' at one point, and admitted to hitting (him) very hard," says a police affidavit filed by Detective Marc Anderson.
Smart says his emotions are torn right now, adding other family members feel the same way.
"It has been tough, but we have a good support network," said Smart. In addition to Devon's health crisis, Smart said relatives are also dealing with another family tragedy as Smart's biological grandmother is currently on her deathbed in Florida.
Smart has set up a Facebook page allowing comments of support for Devon and also information on how to donate monetary contributions to assist with his medical bills.
"One hundred percent of the funds are going to his medical expenses," said Smart.
So far, about $700 has been raised, according to the website fundrazr.com.
Police have refused to comment on whether Gould may have been impaired at the time of the alleged assault, given her statement to police about possibly blacking out during the incident.
She will be back in court on Monday for a probable cause hearing. In the meantime, Gould is being held on $100,000 cash bail.
Anyone wishing to help with Devon's medical expenses can visit www.fundrazr.com/campaigns/1VBre or send a check to Citizens Bank, attention: Baby DG Fund, 35 Manchester Road, Ste. 11A #132, Derry, NH 03038.