Charges: Sandstone toddler on life support after beating

A Sandstone toddler was said to be in "grave" condition and on life support Thursday, days after he suffered severe head trauma in an attack allegedly inflicted by his mother's boyfriend.

A Sandstone toddler was said to be in "grave" condition and on life support Thursday, days after he suffered severe head trauma in an attack allegedly inflicted by his mother's boyfriend.

Criminal charges allege that Jonathan Michael Loun, 31, was babysitting the unidentified child on Monday night when he became upset with the child and violently assaulted him.

The toddler did not receive medical treatment until more than seven hours after the assault when his mother arrived home from work, the charges said. The child, who was left alone in the residence with a 7-year-old sibling for several hours, was rushed to a local facility and later airlifted to Children's Hospital in Minneapolis in critical condition.

Loun was arraigned Thursday in State District Court in Pine City on felony charges of first-degree assault, malicious punishment of a child and third-degree assault. He faces 20 years in prison on the most serious count.

Loun has an extensive criminal record including at least two previous domestic abuse convictions, according to Minnesota court records. Tenth Judicial District Judge Krista Martin set his bail at $1 million with conditions or $2 million without.


According to the criminal complaint:

The Pine County Sheriff's Office was dispatched to the home on the 500 block of Eisenhower Street just before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. A deputy found an unresponsive child, limp and bloodied, propped up on a couch.

The boy's mother showed deputies a note that had been left on the wall and signed by Loun. It explained that he had become upset when the toddler urinated on him while he was changing his diaper.

"I snapped," the note read, in part. "I banged his head on the floor. Hes not ok. I'm so sorry, I stayed up icing his head. ... I'm sorry I love you, I'm done with life all I do is hurt people."

The mother told law enforcement that the boy was "playing, happy and eating" the previous evening. She put him to bed at 8:30 p.m. and went to work a short time later.

The woman showed deputies a series of text messages she received from Loun overnight. Shortly before midnight, he sent her a photo of the child face down on the floor outside his crib.

"Dude I heard him whining like 5 minutes ago n this is how I find him knocked out," the message read. The boy's mother expressed concern for the child, but Loun reassured her in subsequent messages that the "situation was fine."

The mother arrived home at about 7:20 a.m. and called 911 after finding the toddler unconscious in his crib.


Investigators found blood in several locations, including the ceiling. A shirt, diaper and towel containing blood were also located in the apartment.

At the Minneapolis hospital, the child was found to have a brain injury and bleeding around the brain. Injuries to his neck and penis were also documented.

The medical examination determined that the injuries were consistent with "severe child physical abuse ... far beyond what would be appropriate in the routine care of a child."

"The amount of force required to cause brain injury and extra-axial bleeding is extremely violent, such that an observer would know that the actions would cause harm to the child," the report noted.

The report went on to note that the injuries were indicative of a child being thrown or shaken. The seven-hour delay in seeking treatment contributed to the severity of the brain injury, doctors noted.

Investigators searched Loun's sister's home in Brook Park, but did not find him. Officers canvassed the surrounding wooded area and found him under a tree, more than a mile from the home, shortly before 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Loun had a knife and was suffering from non-life-threatening, self-inflicted wounds to his arms. He also had a blanket and a jug of water. He received treatment at a local hospital before he was booked into the Pine County Jail.

Loun's next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 4.

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or
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