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PORT RICHEY MAN ACCUSED OF ABUSING TODDLER

The 19-month-old girl's injuries were too severe for fall, a doctor says.

A little girl is recovering from a head injury earlier this month. Her caregiver says the 19-month-old toddler suffered an accidental fall. Pasco deputies believe she was abused.

James Jordan, 23, was arrested Wednesday morning after allegedly harming the girl June 8. Authorities did not release his relationship to the child, saying only she was in his care.

The day of the incident, the girl's mother left her daughter alone at home with Jordan for half an hour, according to a Pasco County Sheriff's Office report. When she returned, the child's forehead was injured, and she wavered in and out of consciousness, the report said. The girl was flown to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg.

Sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said the child has since been released and is recovering.

Jordan told deputies the child fell off a dresser in her bedroom while he was elsewhere, striking her head.

In the report, deputies said the highest the child could have climbed was on top of a 30-inch-tall dresser. The deputies also said the room was carpeted.

Dr. Sally Smith, director of the child protection team of Pinellas County, examined the child and said there were signs of abuse, according to the report. She said the girl had extensive bleeding on the brain that wrapped around the right side of her head. Smith concluded this is consistent with a high force impact rather than a fall from 30 inches.

Deputies arrested Jordan on charges of aggravated child abuse.

Jordan told deputies after his arrest that he placed the victim on the counter in the kitchen, standing. He said she fell to the floor when he turn to the refrigerator, and he took her to her bed. Jordan said he lied initially because he was afraid.

Jordan was released from the Land O'Lakes jail Wednesday night after posting a $10,000 bail. He did not return a call Thursday for comment.

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