Police Beat

A 22-year-old North Platte woman has been charged with child abuse after her son was taken to the Great Plains Health emergency room with a suspicious head injury on Dec. 12.

Shawlen Johnston of North Platte took the child to the ER, and the child subsequently was flown to Children’s Hospital in Omaha for treatment, said police Public Information Officer Beth Kerr.

Doctors in Omaha found the child had a subdural hematoma — bleeding in the brain due to severe trauma — and hemorrhaging retinas.

Johnston’s explanation in her interview did not match with the injuries to the child, Kerr said. The child and an older sibling were made wards of the state and a warrant was requested for Johnston’s arrest.

She was arrested Wednesday and jailed at the Lincoln County Detention Center. She appeared Thursday in Lincoln County Court. Bail was set at $200,000, and she will be appointed a public defender. Her next hearing date is Jan. 10.

The child is doing well and expected to recover fully, according to Kerr.

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