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Man charged with aggravated child abuse in Spring Hill incident

SPRING HILL — A 30-year-old South Carolina man has been accused of seriously injuring a 3-month-old boy last week after he threw and shook the infant when he wouldn't stop crying, according to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office.

Michael Polyak of Spartanburg, S.C., faces a charge of aggravated child abuse. He was being held Wednesday evening at the Hernando County Detention Center in lieu of $50,000 bail.

Authorities would not disclose the relationship between Polyak and the infant, whom they did not name. The boy and his family, the Sheriff's Office said, are from South Carolina and were visiting family members in Florida.

At about 7:30 p.m. Friday, the Sheriff's Office responded to a 911 call on Eunice Avenue in Spring Hill about an unconscious boy who was having difficulty breathing. Polyak told authorities the boy suddenly became limp and unresponsive while he was holding him.

The boy was taken to Oak Hill Hospital, where doctors determined the child had suffered a severe and significant brain injury as a result of trauma. The boy was transferred to All Children's Hospital.

When questioned, Polyak told deputies that the boy had fallen off a sofa three days earlier. On Monday, he changed his story.

He told deputies he became frustrated with the boy, who had been crying continuously. He said he began "rocking and shaking" him excessively, then threw him down on the sofa, the Sheriff's Office reported.

Physicians said the boy's injuries were consistent with what Polyak described and re-enacted.

Polyak repeatedly referred to himself as a "monster" as he was interviewed by authorities. He said he regretted not feeding the baby, which he thinks would have stopped the crying.

He was arrested Tuesday evening.

State records show Polyak was convicted in Palm Beach County in 2011 for failing to register as a sex offender. Information about the sex offense was not available Wednesday.

Times researcher Carolyn Edds contributed to this report. Danny Valentine can be reached at dvalentine@tampabay.com or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter: @HernandoTimes.

Man charged with aggravated child abuse in Spring Hill incident 10/30/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 8:27pm]
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