Apple Valley newborn allegedly assaulted by father dies

Father initially tells investigators child fell on coffee table

Laura Oakes
August 14, 2018 - 6:42 pm

A newborn is dead and his father is behind bars on what could turn out to be murder charges.

Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom says 32-year old Michael Herkal of Apple Valley was originally charged with first degree assault, but now that the child has died, he'll prosecute the case to the fullest extent of the law.

"This child suffered a serious injury to his head--a fractured skull, brain trauma and bleeding that ultimately led to his death," said Backstrom.

Herkal is accused of assaulting the child when he was alone with him on Sunday evening. According to the criminal complaint, Herkal and the baby's mother had been in an argument that day and she had left the child in Herkal's care. He texted her repeatedly that the child would not stop crying, and originally told investigators the boy fell onto a coffee table.

 Backstrom says these types of crimes are difficult on everyone involved.

"I don't think there's anything worse than injuries that are inflicted upon a helpless, newborn infant. I mean, this is just heartbreaking to hear about a story like this.These are hard cases to deal with for everyone involved in the investigation and prosecution."

Herkal is jailed on one million dollars bail.