DES MOINES, Iowa — A Des Moines man already facing child endangerment charges for allegedly shaking a five-month-old so hard it caused brain bleeding has been charged in the 2021 death of a four-year-old he was babysitting.
Austin Johnson, 29, is charged with child endangerment causing death in a case from February of 2021. A search warrant in the case said Johnson called 911 at 2:59 p.m. on February 20, 2021 and reported a four-year-old child he was babysitting had fallen and was unresponsive. Emergency crews responded to the call at a home in the 1400 block of E. 9th Street. The child was taken to Blank Children’s hospital where he was pronounced dead.
According to the search warrant, Johnson told police he had been carrying the boy up the steps when he fell and tumbled back down the stairs, landing on top of the child. Police said he died from blunt force injuries to the head.
During its investigation, the Des Moines Police Department determined that Johnson’s actions were the cause of the child’s death.
Johnson had been in the Polk County Jail since September 19th, when he was booked on a charge of child endangerment causing serious injury in a separate case.
A criminal complaint filed in that case said Johnson admitted to shaking a five-month-old child in his care for several seconds on September 11th. Hospital staff told investigators the multiple brain bleeds the child experienced were due to non-accidental trauma.