Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom announced that Michael Anthony Herkal, age 32 of Apple Valley, has been charged* with Assault in the First Degree (Great Bodily Harm) and Malicious Punishment of a Child (Great Bodily Harm) in connection with the serious and life threatening injuries suffered by a 13-day old infant boy on August 12, 2018 at his home in Apple Valley. Herkal is the father of this infant.
The allegations contained in the criminal complaint include the following:
Apple Valley police were dispatched to a residence in that city on August 12, 2018 at approximately 7:30 p.m. on a medical call that an infant, born on July 31, 2018, was not breathing. Upon arrival officers observed that his lips were blue in color, his extremeties were turning purple, and he had several bruises on various parts of his body. No pulse or breathing was detected. Officers and paramedics began life saving measures and the infant was transferred to Fairview Ridges Hospital. After it was determined that he had a skull fracture and bleeding on his brain, the infant was transferred to Children’s Masonic Hospital for further treatment of these life threatening injuries.
The infant’s mother later told police that she and Michael Herkal got into an argument earlier that day and that after feeding her newborn son, she left him in the care of his father. She told police she started receiving texts from Herkal at approximately 6:30 p.m. that the infant would not stop crying and needed her. Herkal initially told police that his 2½-year-old son had pulled the infant off the couch on two separate occasions. Later Herkal changed his story and told investigators that while changing the infant’s diaper, the infant was kicking so he squeezed the infant’s body and that the infant slipped out of his hands and fell onto a coffee table.
Herkal’s cell phone was forensically examined. During this search, it was determined that Google searches were conducted approximately one hour and twenty minutes prior to the 911 call, which included: "someone threw a baby on the floor"; "baby breathing hard"; "noisy baby breathing: what’s normal and what’s not"; and "babys butt is blue s[p]anking".
Backstrom stated that the infant has been diagnosed with a difused brain injury as a result of trauma to his head coupled with prolonged lack of oxygen. At this time he is only breathing with assistance and is not expected to survive. If this infant dies, additional charges will be filed in this case.
Additional facts pertaining to this case can be found in the criminal complaint, which is located online at: Criminal Complaint Search. While in custody, a mug shot can be viewed at: Inmate Search.
Backstrom thanked the Apple Valley Police Department and the Dakota County Electronic Crimes Unit for their thorough investigation of this case.
Herkal made his first appearance in court today and bail in the amount of $1,000,000 without conditions ($750,000 with conditions) was set by Dakota County District Court Judge Cynthia McCollum. Herkal’s next court appearance is set for August 23, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. in Hastings. If you have questions, contact James Backstrom at 651-438-4440.
*Criminal charges are not evidence of guilt. A defendant/suspect is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.