Child Abuse Suspect Will Stand Trial

The man accused of shaking an eight-month-old baby to death will stand trial.

Ryan Mullen appeared Monday and was bound over to District Court to stand trial. A date has not yet been set. Mullen is charged with felony child abuse resulting in death, but remains free on bond. He posted ten percent of $500,000.

Payton Birtwell died at the Nebraska Medical Center on October 18. Mullen is the boyfriend of the child's biological mother, Chelsea Birtwell.

He told detectives that he and Chelsea Birtwell were out for a walk, when Payton fell out of his stroller. They checked the baby and claimed that he appeared to be okay. When they returned home, Birtwell put the stroller away, while Mullen said he placed Payton in the crib.

A short time later, Birtwell and Mullen were in the kitchen when they noticed Payton was showing signs of trauma. The baby later died at the hospital; however, doctors said the cause of death was shaken baby syndrome.

The mother was not charged. The detective who testified said it's believed Mullen shook the baby after the walk.

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