Trial begins for man accused of assaulting infant

Then-5-month-old daughter sustained abdominal injuries

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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A trial of a Vancouver man accused of assaulting and severely injuring his infant daughter in 2009 starts today in Clark County Superior Court.

Ryan “Buck” Kannegaard, 26, faces allegations of first-degree assault of a child, a Class A felony, and first-degree criminal mistreatment, a Class B felony.

His trial is expected to last eight days in Judge John Wulle’s courtroom.

Kannegaard was arrested after his daughter, 5 months old at the time, was rushed to Southwest Washington Medical Center with a bruised abdomen. She was vomiting blood. She later was transferred to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital’s intensive care unit in Portland, prosecutors said. She nearly died.

Mother Lydia Kannegaard, who had been at work, took the infant to the hospital after arriving home early Nov. 3, checking on her sleeping daughter and discovering the injuries.

Doctors performed tests and found the baby had fluid in her abdomen and damage to her bowels. She also had several bruises on her stomach and inner thigh, according to court documents.

At trial, Kannegaard’s attorney, David McDonald, is expected to argue that the baby was hurt by her 3-year-old sister, who jumped on top of her as she sat in a beanbag chair.

That was the explanation Kannegaard gave police when he was initially questioned. He said he was cooking dinner in the kitchen when the incident happened, according to court documents.

Believing the injuries weren’t serious, he said, he put the baby to bed.

Investigators arrested him after a doctor reportedly told them his story wasn’t plausible. The doctor said a 3-year-old couldn’t cause such serious injuries, prosecutors allege.

Kannegaard was honorably discharged from the U.S Marine Corps. He has no criminal record, his attorney has said.

First-degree assault of a child carries a minimum sentence of nine years in prison.