Infant in child abuse case suffered more than 30 fractures, was in critical condition

Defendant was recently arrested in federal firearms case

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times
  • Joseph Bresch, 35, was accused on Nov. 8 of a first-degree felony count of child abuse (results in great bodily harm), according to the criminal complaint.
  • Joseph is accused of causing significant child abuse to a two-month-old girl, which led her to being treated at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque.
  • When interviewed by police, Joseph tried to place the blame for the abuse on a juvenile who interacted with the infant.

FARMINGTON — A Bloomfield man is accused of severely abusing an infant, who had more than 30 fractures when she was taken to the hospital.

An Albuquerque doctor told police the infant was “severely and repeatedly abused,” according to court documents.

Joseph Bresch, 35, was accused of a first-degree felony count of child abuse (results in great bodily harm), according to the criminal complaint.

The case could present some issues for the district attorney’s office as the defendant and his girlfriend were recently arrested in connection to a federal firearms case. The defendant’s arrest warrant in the abuse case was still active on the morning of Nov. 11, according to court records. He is in federal custody due to the firearms case.

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Bresch is accused of causing significant injuries to a two-month-old girl, which led to her being treated at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

Infant diagnosed with severe injuries 

Emergency medical services personnel were dispatched on Oct. 24 to a residence on Kathy Lynn Street in Bloomfield on reports of an infant not breathing. 

The Bloomfield Police Department was notified by paramedics that some of the infant's injuries looked suspicious, according to court documents.

The child was put on a ventilator and was in critical condition before being transported from San Juan Regional Medical Center to the hospital in Albuquerque for a higher level of care.

Michelle Bresch, described as Joseph Bresch’s girlfriend in court documents, told police they took the infant out of a car seat, and she stopped breathing.

The doctors at San Juan Regional Medical Center and UNM Hospital in Albuquerque described the injuries the child suffered in graphic detail.

During the investigation, it was learned the infant suffered more than 30 fractures. The list of injuries includes about 20 broken ribs, both clavicles fractured, fractures in both arms and legs and a finger fracture, according to the affidavit.

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The infant also had a “cauliflower ear” on her left ear, burst blood vessels in her left eye and a severe laceration to her neck, which had exposed tissue that was not treated.

Police believe the injuries the infant suffered took place between Oct. 8 and Oct. 24, according to court documents.

Police interview parents of injured infant

While investigating the child abuse case, Bloomfield police learned a search warrant was going to be executed on Michelle and Joseph Bresch's residence by federal authorities.

Joseph Bresch is accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm and Michelle Bresch is accused of knowingly making false statements in connection with a purchase of a firearm, according to court documents.

The search warrant was executed on Oct. 27 and both were arrested on federal arrest warrants.

Both were interviewed at the Bloomfield Police Department after they were taken into custody on Oct. 27.

Michelle Bresch told police she believed Joseph was responsible for the child's injuries, acknowledging the defendant has a previous child abuse conviction from Nevada, according to court documents.

Joseph served seven years in prison on the child abuse conviction, according to court documents.

Michelle Bresch said some of the things Joseph Bresch would do to the infant included screaming in the child’s face when she cried, that he could have broken her clavicles with a “bear hug” and that she would hear muffled cries from the child when Joseph and the infant were alone in the living room, according to the affidavit.

Michelle Bresch also claimed that Joseph Bresch strangled three dogs and a cat, according to the affidavit.

When interviewed by police, a court document indicates that Joseph Bresch tried to place the blame for the abuse on a juvenile who interacted with the infant. Police said he became uncooperative during the interview after yelling at a detective, according to the affidavit.

Prosecution of case could require extra work

The prosecution of the child abuse case could face some difficulty as Joseph has been ordered to be held in federal custody during a Nov. 4 hearing, according to court documents.

San Juan County Chief Deputy District Attorney Dustin O'Brien told The Daily Times that Joseph’s federal arrest does complicate the prosecution of the child abuse case in state district court, but it’s still possible to prosecute him.

O'Brien added it’ll take extra work with the federal courts to coordinate the defendant's court appearances.

A federal judge on Nov. 3 ordered that Michelle Bresch be released from custody pending trial.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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