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Fargo man faces child abuse charge

A Fargo man previously convicted of child endangerment faces a new abuse charge after his 11-week-old daughter suffered multiple traumatic injuries and stopped breathing.

Matthew Allan Zobach

A Fargo man previously convicted of child endangerment faces a new abuse charge after his 11-week-old daughter suffered multiple traumatic injuries and stopped breathing.

Matthew Allan Zobach, 32, is currently on supervised probation for his 2005 conviction in Meeker County, Minn., and is not to have unsupervised contact with children.

The girl's mother told police his previous conviction involved broken bones and was "just like this" and she knew about the probation restrictions.

Authorities responded to the 4700 block of 17th Avenue South in Fargo about 9:30 p.m. March 25 after receiving a report that a baby was not breathing.

The child was taken to Innovis Health in Fargo, where investigators spoke with Zobach and his fiancée.

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Zobach said he was having trouble getting the baby to burp. When she did, she spit up and vomited on his shirt. As he changed her, he noticed the child was not breathing.

When asked about a bruise on her head, Zobach said the previous weekend she was fussing and jerked her head onto the side of the changing table. She also bumped her head on his chin, he said.

The mother told police she had observed bruising on her daughter's neck about seven to 10 days before the girl was hospitalized, which she believed had been from her head bobbing. She also found bruises on the child's upper arms when she was a month old, which she believed to be from the car seat.

A doctor told authorities the girl had suffered multiple injuries, including an apparent life-threatening event, two different-aged subdural hematomas - or traumatic brain injuries - and two cerebral contusions. She also had five or six rib fractures that were healing, a possible right forearm fracture, a tibial fracture and complex retinal hemorrhages.

In the March 2005 Meeker County case, Zobach was accused of felony child endangerment after his 2-month-old daughter was brought to an emergency room with a laceration to her throat and a fractured right femur and left rib. Zobach told police he forced a plastic syringe into the back of her mouth to administer medication and admitted he wrapped his hands around her torso and squeezed her in an attempt to alleviate a constipation problem.

He also said he forcibly pulled and pushed her right leg to try to put it into a snowsuit, admitting he was frustrated and used too much force in handling the child.

Zobach pleaded guilty to the charge in September 2005 and was sentenced in November 2005 to 60 days in jail and five years of supervised probation, which ends in 2010.

The terms of his probation require him to complete a parenting class and have no unsupervised contact with children under 16.

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A warrant has been issued for Zobach's arrest in connection with the new allegation, which is punishable by up to 10 years.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Brittany Lawonn at (701) 241-5541

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