Motion hearing held for father charged for son’s death
Trung Tran still accused of child neglect resulting in death
BY KEVIN BONESKE
A 41-year-old man, whose wife is accused of causing the death of his 20-month-old son following an incident at their town of Newbold home back in April, still faces a felony count against him following a motion hearing Thursday in Oneida County Circuit Court.
During the hearing before Judge Michael H. Bloom, Trung T. Tran appeared with his attorney, D. Michael Guerin, who sought to dismiss the criminal complaint against his client by arguing the allegations contained in it are insufficient to show probable cause for the felony offenses charged, which included child neglect resulting in death and failure to act to prevent great bodily harm to a child.
Trung Tran’s wife, Ellen L. Tran, 29, has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide and a separate felony bailing jumping charge in connection with the death of Trung Tran’s son and her stepson, Avery J. Edwards.
At Thursday’s motion hearing, Bloom found the criminal complaint did not contain information to show Trung Tran had prior knowledge of great bodily harm being caused to the boy by Ellen Tran, before the alleged incident that caused his death in April, to support an element of the charge of failing to prevent great bodily harm to a child.
“Therefore, the complaint is not sufficient to support (the charge of failing to prevent great bodily harm),” Bloom said in dismissing that count.
However, Bloom said the complaint did support all four elements of the charge of child neglect resulting in death, which upon conviction carries a maximum possible penalty of 15 years of initial confinement in prison, followed by 10 years of extended supervision, and/or a $100,000 fine.
“There are more than sufficient factual allegations in the complaint to support that synopsis,” Bloom said. “And frankly, they’re sufficiently distasteful that I simply don’t care to recount them on the record here today.
“There is no question that it is a reasonable inference from all those facts and the assessment that Mr. Tran’s conduct was intentional and that it contributed to the neglect of (the boy). And there’s no question that the allegations in the complaint are sufficient to establish that (the boy) died as a consequence of being left by Mr. Tran in the care of Ellen Tran.”
The circumstances surrounding Trung and Ellen Tran being charged relate to an incident called into the county’s dispatch center the evening of April 14 when it was reported a child had trouble breathing at a residence in the town of Newbold.
The child, Avery Edwards, was transported to St. Mary’s Hospital in Rhinelander, where he was then flown out to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield and passed away a short time later.
Dr. Doug Kelley of the Fond du Lac County Medical Examiner’s Office, who performed the autopsy on the boy, determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.
Ellen Tran has been accused of giving authorities varying accounts about what happened to the boy and had been the only adult present when the alleged incident happened and she had been caring for him, as well as two other children.
After Ellen Tran stated the boy fell in the shower, she said she could not remember how the fall happened, according to a sheriff’s office report, which also noted a doctor at the Child Abuse Center at St. Joseph’s Hospital, Kristen Iniguez, contacted sheriff’s office captain Terri Hook on April 15 related to concern about the boy’s injuries not matching the information Ellen Tran provided.
Though Ellen Tran was first arrested for the boy’s death back in April, Trung Tran, who worked as a physician in Rhinelander, wasn’t arrested until September. Back in April, Trung Tran had allegedly asked if he would be arrested for failing to protect Avery Edwards and expressed concern about the boy being in Ellen Tran’s care.
Trung Tran, who remains free on a $10,000 cash bond, is scheduled back in court Jan. 26 for a preliminary hearing.
Ellen Tran, who is also free on bond, is scheduled back in court Feb. 16 for a status conference. The first-degree reckless homicide charge against her, for which she has pleaded not guilty, carries a maximum possible penalty upon conviction of 40 years of initial confinement in prison, followed by 20 years of extended supervision.