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Pruett will go to trial for abuse of infant

An Arizona man faces life in prison after allegedly sexually and physically abusing an infant.

Dan Anderson Pruett, 44, pleaded not guilty and will go to trial on charges of AA felony gross sexual imposition and B felony aggravated assault for his alleged actions early the morning of Nov. 21, 2013.

Dickinson police Det. Terry Oestreich testified at a preliminary hearing Monday at the Stark County Courthouse that Pruett admitted using a vibrator on a five-month-old baby.

Ambulance responders, responding to an infant-in-distress call, found the baby unconscious on an ottoman in a west Dickinson residence. The 5-month-old girl, had no pulse and had a low body temperature. She had bruises and was bleeding vaginally. One ambulance responder later told Oestreich, “If you’re asking me if this baby was sexually assaulted, the answer is yes,” Oestreich testified.

Pruett was hanging out with the baby’s mother and friends the night of the incident, and took the baby home with him around midnight while the mother continued socializing. Pruett is not the baby’s father, Oestreich said.

Over the course of a six-hour interview with Oestreich shortly after the incident, Pruett changed his original story -- that he woke up to find her unconscious in his bed, where he had fallen asleep next to her -- saying he used the vibrator on the baby.

Investigators found the bloodied vibrator and other items with blood on them after executing a search warrant in Pruett’s room.

The baby was airlifted to Fargo after the incident, and the doctors said she had suffered cardiac arrest, seizures and bleeding on the brain, resulting in traumatic brain injury.

Pruett also admitted in his law enforcement interview that he shook the baby, Oestreich said.

“He said she was unresponsive, so he shook her,” Oestreich said, making a shaking motion with his hands.

Oestreich said security video from Walmart showed Pruett and friends taking an air duster from the store earlier in the night, and Pruett taking a hit as he walked out.

The state laboratory issued presumptive findings that a substance on the baby was semen, Oestreich testified.

Stark County Assistant State’s Attorney Jim Hope said the medical records and Pruett’s statements to Oestreich proved probable cause for trial. By all reports, the baby was fine before the hours Pruett had her alone, Hope said, and “there is just nothing else to account for this other than the actions of Mr. Pruett.”

Southwest Judicial District Judge Zane Anderson agreed there was probable cause, and ordered the case bound over for trial. A date hasn’t been set.