FRANKLIN COUNTY, Mo. – A Villa Ridge man is facing child abuse charges after police found an unconscious 9-month-old in his care.

According to Franklin County Sheriff Steve Pelton, deputies went to a home in the 100 block of Baker Street on Monday, May 8, and observed the child had bruises on her face.

The child was airlifted to a St. Louis hospital for immediate medical attention. Doctors told authorities the child was suffering from brain swelling, and that her injuries were the likely result of forced trauma.

Investigators met with the homeowner, Aaron Clayton, to discuss the child’s injuries.

Sheriff Pelton claims Clayton admitted to having “black out” episodes and that he doesn’t remember hitting the child, but others in the home had told Clayton he had done so while the child was crying.

The Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Clayton with first-degree assault – special victim and abuse or neglect of a child. His bond was set at $500,000, cash-only.

Meanwhile, the 9-month-old is in stable condition at the hospital, Pelton said.