JOSHUA TREE — Nineteen-month-old Audrey Allen had extensive bruising to her face and neck before she died in 2010, indicating child abuse, Dr. Amy Young said Monday, Sept. 24, in Joshua Tree Superior Court.
Young is a professor of pediatrics at Loma Linda University and a practicing pediatric physician at Loma Linda University Medical Center. She specializes in child abuse cases.
Young testified Monday in Joshua Kruzik’s murder trial that the toddler’s injuries were consistent with child abuse.
Joshua Kruzik, a former Marine briefly stationed in Twentynine Palms, is being charged with murder in the child’s death.
“Audrey was a very critically ill child,” Young said. “Audrey had a lot of fairly significant cutaneous injuries … injuries on her skin. Her whole entire forehead was discolored.”
Young gave her medical opinion about how the toddler died, saying Audrey experienced blunt-force trauma to the head and had injuries consistent with being struck, strangled, suffocated and shaken heavily, Young said. She identified spots of internal bleeding in photos shown to the jury of Audrey’s eyes, lips, ears and forehead.
The child experienced retinal hemorrhaging and her brain was swollen when she arrived at the hospital, Young said.
“There are multiple impacts to her head … it appears the child’s been struck many times in the head,” she said of Audrey’s injuries. “The left side of her brain, most of that side was damaged. You couldn’t see any gray-white matter differentiation anymore.”
In a November 2010 interview at Kruzik’s home base of Camp Lejeune, N.C., Kruzik told Det. Lucas Niles of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and Field Agent Dwayne Brown of Naval Criminal Investigative Services that he struck Audrey with his hand about four times in an effort to wake her up after she lost consciousness. Kruzik said he fell on Audrey while he was trying to reach for a toy to give her so she would stop crying.
The incident occurred while Kruzik was baby sitting Audrey in her Twentynine Palms home for a few hours while her parents, also Marines, went to a tattoo shop.
Brown also testified in court Monday, the final day of the prosecution’s witness testimony. He said during his interview with Kruzik, the suspect used Brown’s hand to demonstrate how hard he hit Audrey that night.
“He struck my hand … it felt like a tap. I asked him, ‘Is that how hard you hit her?’ He said, ‘No.’ He struck my hand again. It stung,” Brown said.
Kruzik’s defense attorney, David Cohn, reiterated that Kruzik had told investigators he struck Audrey and covered her mouth to make her regain consciousness, not to inflict injury.
“If you struck a child, you know (what you did), but you may not know the extent of the injuries, correct?” Cohn asked Young during cross-examination. “Yes,” she replied.
The doctor said the methods Kruzik allegedly used on Audrey to try to shock her awake were not consistent with resuscitation or reviving someone from an unconscious state.
Kruzik’s trial will continue Wednesday, Sept. 26, with witnesses testifying on his behalf.