Man, 21, accused of child abuse

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By Abdon Sidibe

A man is in custody, accused of striking a 5-month-old baby on the head and face causing “significant” injuries, according to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office.

Austin D. Buchanan, 21, of Inverness, was arrested Monday and is charged with two counts of child neglect without causing great bodily harm and child abuse — infliction of physical/mental injury. No bond was allowed.

According to Buchanan’s arrest affidavit, the baby was in his sole care and custody prior to the injuries.

Authorities discovered “significant facial  bruising along the nose, lip and tongue trauma” when the baby was examined at Citrus Memorial hospital.

Buchanan reportedly gave conflicting statements to medical and law enforcement officials about how the child sustained the injuries.

Buchanan said the baby had been on a blanket on the floor the entire time he was caring for him. He later told the child’s mother the baby had fallen off a bed or couch. Buchanan also reportedly told others the family’s dog may have stepped on him.

After being treated at the hospital, the child was transferred to Shands hospital in Gainesville for further evaluation. According to the Child Protection Team’s evaluation, the child’s injuries are consistent with “several high-velocity strikes to the head.”

Buchanan told investigators his attorney advised him not to make any statements. He was arrested and transported to the Citrus County Detention Center.

Contact Chronicle reporter A.B. Sidibe at 352-564-2925 or asidibe@chronicleonline.com.