Daphne child abuse suspect gets $270,000 bond as 5-year-old victim remains in critical condition

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 12:00 AM CDT
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DAPHNE, Ala. (WALA) - A convicted sex offender and Daphne child assault suspect had his first appearance before a judge Monday, June 27, 2022. He’d been on the run until a citizen spotted him the previous Friday and called police. Investigators said he was the prime suspect in the severe beating of a five-year-old child and he is now charged with that crime.

Daphne Police bring additional charges of aggravated child abuse, chemical endangerment of a...
Daphne Police bring additional charges of aggravated child abuse, chemical endangerment of a child and possession of a controlled substance against Douglas Lewis(Baldwin County Sheriff's Office)

Forty-five-year-old Douglas Lewis is under quarantine at the Baldwin County Jail and was brought into the jail courtroom by himself for a bond hearing Monday. The new charges include aggravated child abuse, chemical endangerment of a child and possession of a controlled substance. There are several additional charges related to his sex offender status.

Before setting a $270,000 bond, Judge Bill Scully heard statements from Baldwin County prosecutors, outlining Lewis’s extensive criminal history, dating back to a 1995 conviction in California for sexual assault on a minor.

“He started in California. He has ties to Nevada, Florida…Lauderdale County and really, just fairly recently in the Mobile and Baldwin County areas,” explained Baldwin County Chief Assistant District Attorney, Teresa Heinz.

At the time of his arrest, police said Lewis was in possession of methamphetamine. Prosecutors told the judge the five-year-old victim tested positive for amphetamines in his system. That boy was flown to University Hospital Tuesday morning with serious head trauma and bruising. He had surgery for bleeding on the brain and is still hospitalized in critical condition. Investigators say the child also has two broken ribs, a broken sternum and signs of a past brain bleed.

“It’s horrific, especially to see a five-year-old in that condition. It’s not really something anyone can get used to,” said Sgt. Jason Vannoy with Daphne Police.

The family Lewis was living with has three children, which investigators said means he was violating residency restrictions related to his prior sex offense. It was while he was babysitting for the parents last Monday night that police said they believe Lewis beat the child. A 7-year-old sibling found their brother non-responsive the next morning and alerted the parents, who called police. That’s when police said Lewis went on the run until his arrest Friday.

“What this child and what his siblings have gone through has been horrific. What they had to witness and what they know, it’s not what any child should have to see or hear,” Heinz said. “They’re meant to be protected and this was somebody in a protective capacity or should have been in a protective capacity that was not protective.”

“This case is still under investigation and police and prosecutors said more charges could come. Both the four-year-old and the seven-year-old from that household have also undergone testing to see if they had amphetamines in their system. Those results have not yet come in.


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