Yreka parent arrested for child abuse faced similar charges in the past

YREKA, Calif. — On Monday, March 25th, Yreka Police was called to Fairchild Medical Center after a 2-month-old came in with a skull fracture and brain injury.

Police said investigators soon found the girl’s twin sister also had a brain injury.  Both children were transported to UC Davis Medical Center for further care.  As of Thursday afternoon, the second twin was in more stable condition.

“They told us that it was a significant blow to the head or a blunt force type trauma to cause the skull fracture,” said Lt. Chris Betts of the Yreka Police Department. “We had probable cause to believe that there was some type of child abuse going on and made the arrest.”

The Yreka Police Department obtained a search warrant and arrested Stephanie Hayes (31) and Joshua Njaa (35). Njaa and Hayes are both facing charges of willful harm or injury to a child.

“You don’t really expect your neighbors to be in that situation especially when they just moved in,” said neighbor, Devin Shackelford.  He said the family just moved into the home about two months ago.

Officers conducted interviews with both parents and said no one else was with the children this week.  The couple told police they thought their three-year-old daughter might have been rough with the twins.  However, investigators aren’t buying it.

“It was more than what a three-year-old could cause,” said Betts. “It was more than what would be caused if the child was to be dropped or rolled off a bed.”

According to the Siskiyou County Sheriffs Office, Njaa has a history of abusing kids. In October of 2002, he was arrested after a child he was babysitting sustained injuries to the stomach.

NBC5 News attempted to get in touch with child protective services to find out its involvement in the case and Njaa’s criminal history with children.  We’re told to hear back from them on Friday.

The couple was arraigned Thursday afternoon. Yreka police say one of the twins will most likely be released today and the other children, three and five-year-olds, will remain with child protective services.

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