Trial date moved for man accused of assault on baby daughter

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WALLA WALLA — A trial scheduled this week for a man accused of breaking the ribs of his infant daughter has been postponed again in Walla Walla County Superior Court.

Thomas N. Caldwell, 34, of 708 S. College Ave., No. 204, College Place, now is slated to face a jury starting Nov. 8.

The proceedings had been set to begin Tuesday, but have been delayed to accommodate a prosecution witness’ scheduling conflict and allow time for more investigation by the defense.

The proceedings first were expected to be held July 17 and 18, then postponed to this week at the request of the defense.

Caldwell is charged with first-degree assault of a child.

Officials believe he forcibly grabbed and squeezed his baby — breaking seven of her ribs — probably around the end of October or first of November when she was 7 to 7 1/2 months old.

The injuries came to light when the child’s mother, Amber D. Dublinski, took her to Walla Walla General Hospital on Jan. 9 because she wasn’t thriving.

X-rays revealed the baby’s injuries, which were in the healing stage, and authorities were notified.

Caldwell gave differing accounts of how the injuries could have occurred, Walla Walla police said.

He eventually admitted hurting his daughter, but said it was an accident. He reportedly told police he was drunk when he went to the College Place apartment after a Halloween party, tripped over something, fell forward and landed with his elbow on the stomach of the baby who was in a bassinet.

A subsequent report by a child protection team at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle determined that falling into a bassinet doesn’t explain the child’s injuries, according to a Walla Walla police report filed in court.

Caldwell was arrested in College Place on May 15 and booked into the Walla Walla County Jail. Bail initially was set at $25,000, but later was increased to $75,000.

The child reportedly was placed in foster care and is doing well.

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