Man accused of biting girlfriend's son


by Mike Gertzman

Video report by Mike Watkiss

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 11:55 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 20 at 5:57 PM

PHOENIX -- Police arrested 24-year-old Michael Helm after he allegedly bit his girlfriend's 18-month-old son on the elbow.

Helm is facing a charge of child abuse.

Child Protective Services had custody of the child until May 13. CPS became involved following allegations related to unexplained bruising on the child in December 2013.

On May 16, the boy was brought to the doctor for pink eye. The doctor noticed an adult-sized bite mark on the victim's elbow and some bruises, according to court documents.

The mother, 19-year-old Daniela Hangartner, initially told CPS that she believed her cousin caused the injuries while playing rough with the child. She later said that Helm did it.

Helm admitted to CPS that he bit the child but said it was an accident.

"[The suspect] Gave several different versions as to why it had happened and how it had happened verbally but when asked to try to demonstrate it he couldn't," said Sgt. Trent Crump with the Phoenix Police Department.

Hangartner told investigators that Helm is mean to the child and she believed that he bit the child on purpose. She said when she woke up in the morning the child was crying. She left the room leaving the child alone with Helm. When she returned the baby was still crying but now had a bite mark on his elbow.

"The baby is fine," said 19-year-old Daniela Hangartner, the child's mother. "I don't like how he bit my son and I don't like how my baby was taken again. He shouldn't have bit my baby."

Hangartner, who said she is pregnant by Helm, also told police that Helm has threatened to kill her in the past.

The alleged abuse occurred at a home near 24th and Van Buren streets where Hangartner lives with her father, stepmother and siblings.

Helm was ordered released without bond. Hangartner said he was out of jail.