17-year-old charged with neglect, attempted murder of baby

MARSHALL COUNTY, Ind. - A 17-year-old is charged with neglect and attempted murder after seriously injuring his four-month-old baby while trying to get her to stop crying, according to the probable cause affidavit.

Jacob Kats has been charged with attempted murder, aggravated battery and neglect of a dependent resulting in serious injury.

On March 21, officers with the Marshall County Sheriff's Office were contacted by the Indiana Department of Child Services regarding a possible child abuse incident at a home in the 20000 block of Chestnut Road.

DCS reported the four-month-old baby had been admitted to the hospital the night before due to "general discomfort," according to reports. The baby was brought in by her parents, who are both juveniles.

The child's medical records showed three fractured ribs and doctors determined the injuries were non-accidental trauma.

The baby was taken to a second hospital, where doctors there found multiple rib fractures on both sides of her body and a sternum fracture, all of which appeared to be in the process of healing.

Doctors identified several new fractures to the child's neck, which were determined to be consistent with extreme pressure on the neck.

According to records, the baby has a history of injuries.

While speaking with investigators and his father, Jacob Kats, the father of the victim, initially denied knowing how the child would have been injured, police said.

He said her ribs could've been injured when she fell off his bed a couple of weeks before, reports said.

On another occasion, Kats said he was at the top of a staircase holding the child when she began to fall out of his arms.

Kats demonstrated how he caught the baby, claiming it would have injured her neck.

When investigators told Kats the baby's injuries were not consistent with the events he described, he asked to speak to them without his father present.

Alone with investigators, Kats became emotional and said he's been battling anger issues for a long time.

Kats said he's been frustrated with raising the baby and how much she cries.

He told investigators he would squeeze the baby under her armpits with both hands, saying the fractured sternum likely came from that, reports said. 

Kats went on to tell police that on March 20, after arguing with a classmate, he wanted to be alone in his room to calm down.

While there, he said the baby wouldn't stop crying and he "panicked," and put his hand around her throat until she lost consciousness, according to reports.

He then left her in a pack-and-play, police reported.

Kats said he knew the baby was still breathing when he left her in the pack-and-play but thought if he "knocked" her "out" she might calm down and sleep for a couple of hours, reports said.

He had his initial hearing on Tuesday, in which an order was issued to keep him in the Marshall County Jail.

He will be back in court on April 12.

Share this article: