Indiana man admits to pushing toddler down stairs after argument over food, court docs show

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Antonio Riviera-Manship

MUNCIE, Ind. (WXIN) – An Indiana man faces eight charges after his arrest in a child abuse case that left a 3-year-old victim fighting for his life.

Prosecutors charged Antonio Austin Riviera-Manship, 24, of Muncie, with two counts of battery, three counts of neglect, two counts of aggravated battery and a count of obstruction of justice after a 3-year-old boy went to a local hospital with serious injuries.

Riviera-Manship initially told officers the child had fallen down a set of stairs. The boy had suffered two “subdermal brain bleeds”; pediatricians and child abuse experts said the injuries didn’t appear to come from an “unprovoked fall down the stairs,” according to court documents.

The 3-year-old was put in a medically induced coma as a “last-ditch effort” to reduce the effects of his injuries. It’s possible the boy’s condition will not improve.

Riviera-Manship lived with the child’s mother and was watching him. He initially said he’d been in an upstairs bedroom when he heard the child fall down the stairs. During a subsequent interview, he told police he “had lied about the incident.”

He said he became “overwhelmed” and pushed the 3-year-old down the stairs because they were arguing about what “the child would eat.” He said the boy appeared to be unconscious after he hit the floor.

According to court records, Riviera-Manship called the boy’s mother several times starting at 7:22 p.m. before eventually calling 911 at 7:35 p.m. to report that the child was hurt. He had earlier claimed that he’d “called 911 right away within 5 minutes of finding the child,” court documents said.

A pediatrician at Riley said the 13 minutes “could have definitely made a difference in the child’s current and long-term state,” adding that “every minute is helpful” when it comes to head injuries.

According to court documents, Riviera-Manship detailed other abusive incidents within the last two months. He said he’d shaken the boy to “get the child to listen,” pinned the child on the ground while “roughhousing,” slapped him several times on the stomach and thighs, and also hit him in the scrotum “to show the child that it hurt” because the boy had hit Riviera-Manship there before.

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