I-Team 8

Documents reveal new details in death of Anderson 1-year-old

ANDERSON, Ind. (WISH) — An Indiana mother and her boyfriend are accused of abusing a toddler, killing him.

I-Team 8 has uncovered new disturbing details of the time leading up to death of Harlan Haines. I-Team 8 has covered the 1-year-old's death since it happened in February. Now, we know more about what happened before he died. 

The Indiana Department of Child Services released pages and pages of documents to Madison County courts. The courts released those documents to I-Team 8. The documents paint a bleak picture starting at the end of 2017 when Harlan Haines' mom says a Christmas tree fell on him. 

Harlan had bright blue eyes and a short life marked by reports from Child Services. Reports of injuries started piling up when Harlan was only 6 months old. One such report, released to I-Team 8 on Thursday, said, "When Harlan was 6 months old he had a diagnosed unexplained bruise in a child who is not mobile." 

In December 2017, Harlan's mother, Jennifer Harris, took him to the doctor for an ear infection. According to a Child Services report, she told her caseworker she noticed he was "walking funny." She then said Harlan had pulled on their Christmas tree and it fell on him. The mom could not share photos of the tree because she said it was thrown away. The report said, "Without photos, overall is concerning, but definitive for inflicted injuries."

Photos and Child Services notes show Harlan had unusual bruising around his eyes, scalp swelling and a broken leg. The report said, "Doctor stated she rarely ever sees a child with bruising around the eyes."

Months later, in February, Harris' boyfriend, Dylan Tate, brought Harlan to the hospital after a car accident. According to Child Services, doctors found the boy was brain-dead. They also found old injuries and signs of sexual abuse. Police and prosecutors later said there were injuries that were not consistent with a car accident. The Child Services documents said, "Dr Thompson reported there were old injuries which concern her." 

We spoke to Harlan's biological father after this happened in February. 

"I don't see how anybody could hurt a little baby boy like that," said Jackie Haines in February. "It wasn't his fault; he didn't deserve that." 

Before the Madison County prosecutor filed charges against Tate and Harris, he told News 8 Harlan died of blunt force trauma to the brain. 

"Someone had stuck rags in his mouth to keep him from screaming," said Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings. "That's the kind of pain this poor child was going through."

Harris is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in death. Tate is charged with neglect of a dependent causing death and operating a vehicle while intoxicated.

I-Team 8 reached out Thursday to Child Services and shared these newly released documents. They had no further comment and referred us back to their last statement:

"Our hearts break any time we learn a child has been lost. The Anderson community should know we, too, grieve the death of Harlan Haines." 

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