FULTON COUNTY, Ga. - A Johns Creek father is facing charges alleging he assaulted his 6-week-old daughter, leaving her in critical condition.
Courtney Johnson told Channel 2’s Mike Petchenik her daughter Rylee Barnett is on a ventilator at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite after the attack last week.
“Me and my live-in boyfriend, Greg, we had an argument,” she said. “He hit me, shoved me on my TV, (and) choked me on my bed,” Johnson said.
Johnson said she escaped from the couple’s Ullswater Cove home while baby Rylee slept. When she returned home about 15 minutes later, she said Rylee was screaming and had visible injuries to her head.
“(She had) blunt-force trauma to the left side of her head. Either he slammed something into her, or he slammed her into, like a dining room table,” Johnson said.
Doctors flew Rylee from Emory University Hospital to Johns Creek to Scottish Rite and police arrested Gregory Barnett on aggravated assault and child cruelty charges.
“No matter how long you do this job, anything that involves a baby touches you emotionally and breaks your heart,” said Johns Creek Police Department Lt. Chris Byers.
Johnson said Barnett had a history of abusing her, but never the children.
“I’m still in shock and reeling from that,” she said. “I have two other daughters and we all live together and he never touched them.”
According to the Georgia Centers for Child Advocacy, in about 80 percent of child abuse cases, a parent is the abuser. Six percent of cases involved a relative, reports GCCA.
Barnett remains in the Fulton County jail without bond and is due in court next week. Johnson said doctors hoped to remove the ventilator from the baby on Tuesday because she was making some progress.
“The first couple of nights it was touch and go, it was iffy. We didn’t know if she was going to make it through the night,” Johnson said. “It’s little things, baby steps. It’s one hour at a time, not one day at a time with me any more.”