Police investigate child hit by rock

Police investigate child hit by rock

October 23rd, 2010 by Todd South in News

Six days after a basketball-sized rock hit 2-year-old Caleb Brown in the head, the boy remains in critical condition, his family said.

The boy's father, Tim Brown, said the family, who live in Nashville, has been "waiting and praying" since the incident at Fall Creek Falls last Saturday.

Doctors at T.C. Thompson Children's Hospital are monitoring swelling in the child's brain and must wait until the swelling peaks before any idea of damage is known, the father said. Caleb is under sedation until the swelling subsides.

"At this point, we don't know anything," Brown said,

Caleb was injured when his family, including his father, mother, Tiffany, and 4-year-old brother Colby were hiking at the state park in Van Buren County on their first family camping trip.

Teens apparently were rolling rocks off the top of a cliff and one "clipped" the back of Caleb's head, Beasley said.

Van Buren County sheriff's deputies have gathered yearbooks from surrounding high schools to see if witnesses can recognize any of the teens. Sheriff Grayson Beasley said a witness already can identify at least one of two teens he saw rolling rocks off a cliff above where the Browns were standing.

"I don't think anyone was trying to throw and intentionally hurt those people," Beasley said. "I think they probably rolled it off and it rolled down."

The chances that investigators will find the person are "very slight," the sheriff said, but they're still looking.

Tim Brown said he would wait until police find information to decide if he would take legal action against anyone who might have rolled or thrown rocks off the cliff. But he did encourage anyone who saw what happened to call police with the information.

Tiffany Brown was holding Caleb when the rock struck him, which the sheriff said likely saved the boy's life.

"It spun her sort of to the side and served as a type of shock absorber," Beasley said.

Had the boy been hit standing on the ground on his own, the blow would have been fatal, he said.

Chattanooga police Officer Heather Williams was hiking the trail when she came upon the boy, who was being treated by a doctor and volunteer firefighter, both off-duty at the time.

She helped the others resuscitate him and keep his airway clear as they waited for emergency workers to evacuate him to Children's Hospital via helicopter.

"It was like instinct to react," she said. "But at the same time, he's a 2-year-old little boy. You know it makes it kind of personal."

The Browns have set up a website and a Facebook page chronicling the ordeal and asking for prayers and donations.


To send a check by mail:

Suntrust Bank

Attn: Special Handling VA - RIC - 9292

P.O. Box 27572

Richmond, VA 23261-7572

To read updates about Caleb's recovery, go to www.helpcaleb.com, which has a link to the family's Facebook page.