An 18-year-old man is facing a felony child abuse charge after admitting to Lubbock police he punched his 6-week-old daughter, fracturing her skull.
The child was taken to an emergency room at University Medical Center on June 6 with serious injuries, including a fractured skull and bleeding in her brain and eye, according to court documents filed the same day. The girl’s face was bruised on both sides and her forehead had dark bruises.
Matthew Liford is being held at the Lubbock County Detention Center on a first-degree felony charge of injury to a child and a second-degree felony count of prohibited sexual conduct with a relative.
First-degree felonies carry a punishment of five years to life in prison, while second-degree felonies have a punishment range of two to 20 years in prison.
Investigators believe the girl and her year-old brother are children Liford fathered with his 36-year-old adopted mother, Ashley. She was arrested June 8 and and booked into the jail on a charge of prohibited sexual conduct with a relative.
Matthew and Ashley Liford remain at the Lubbock County jail. Their bonds are set at $100,000.
The children have been placed in foster care while the investigation continues, said CPS spokesman Paul Zimmerman.
“Our primary concern at this time is the safety and welfare of the two children involved; both are in state conservatorship,” he said.
Lubbock police spokeswoman Tiffany Pelt said investigators expect the girl will survive her injuries.
Lubbock police arrested Matthew Liford on June 6 at his home in the 6900 block of Hartrford Avenue after responding to a child abuse call at the hospital.
According to a family friend who met with police at UMC, Ashley Liford sent her a message earlier in the day stating Matthew packed his bags and left their home. Ashley and Matthew and the two children moved in together after Ashley and her husband separated when her alleged affair with her adopted son was discovered, according to court records.
The family friend saw bruising on the girl’s face and said Ashley reportedly told her she believed Matthew must have been angry and struck the child, the court records stated, adding: When the family friend told Ashley she was going to call the police, she said Ashley became concerned that the call would confirm CPS workers’ suspicions that Matthew was the father of her youngest children.
A CPS worker saw a text Ashley sent Matthew asking about the child’s injuries, to which he responded, “**** you, you ruined my life … I hit her,” the affidavit states.
She said Ashley went to work and the family friend took the children to Wolfforth, where she called the police.
According to the documents, Lubbock police went to the Liford’s home to investigate the assault and found broken glass, trash and torn pictures scattered throughout the home. A folded piece of infant clothing was found on a kitchen counter next to a smashed birthday cake. A mattress appeared to have been thrown through the living room and a stuffed baby bear was torn limb from limb.
They found Matthew Liford in the backyard, and he admitted to hitting the infant, the documents stated. He was arrested and booked into the jail.
According to court documents, Liford, and his younger siblings were adopted several years ago by Ashley and her husband.
In May, her husband filed for divorce. The husband told CPS workers he discovered his wife and his adopted son were having a sexual relationship and that she was pregnant, he denied being the father of the infants, the court records stated.
CPS workers became aware in January 2016 of the alleged sexual relationship between Ashley and her adopted son when she confirmed she was pregnant but denied Matthew, who was 16 at the time, was the child’s father, the court records stated, adding: A clinic worker told a CPS investigator Ashley came in for a pregnancy test and reportedly admitted her relationship with Matthew, but said he was 18.
Meanwhile, a Lubbock County grand jury indicted Ashley in October on a second-degree felony count of sexual assault of a child, which is pending in the 137th Court.