Attempted murder and other charges were filed Wednesday against a man accused in an apparent random attack on a 7-year-old boy in Desert Hot Springs, which rendered the child comatose.
Daniel Birch Poulsen, 32, was arrested Sunday, the day after the youngster was found unconscious lying in the middle of the street in the 9600 block of Vista Del Valle.
Along with attempted murder, Poulsen faces one count of willful child cruelty and sentence-enhancing allegations of committing bodily injury.
According to the criminal complaint filed by prosecutors, the attack caused the child, named Gavin, to "become comatose due to brain injury or to suffer paralysis of a permanent nature.''
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Desert Hot Springs Deputy Police Chief Steven Shaw said this morning that the last update he received on Tuesday regarding the boy's condition was that he had not regained consciousness.
He said Poulsen and the victim live in the same neighborhood, but do not appear to know each other.
"Everything is indicating this is an absolutely random attack,'' Shaw said.
Poulsen, who remains jailed at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning in lieu of $1 million bail, is scheduled to make his initial court appearance Thursday afternoon.
Police officers were notified last Saturday of a report of a child found lying in the roadway.
NBC Palm Springs reported that a neighbor found Gavin Ludwick in a shocking state.
Arturo Delgado told NBC Palm Springs he was leaving the house when he saw Gavin on the street, lying face down.
“I said, ‘hey Gavin!’ and when I went to turn him over I noticed that there was damage on the right side of his head … I called his name out and he started to cry … I was in shock by that point because I couldn’t believe what was happening so I picked him up … ran to his house knocked on the door … the family was shocked,” Delgado said.
“The kid is very, very, very special,” he said, and then wept during the interview.
Investigators determined the boy was deliberately attacked but did not reveal how they identified Poulsen as the suspect.
Since 2007, Poulsen has been arrested and charged on 15 separate occasions in Riverside County on a wide array of allegations, including burglary, battery, resisting arrest, indecent exposure, committing lewd acts in public and annoying and/or molesting a child under 18 years old.
Poulsen was found mentally incompetent to stand trial at least 11 times over the years, court records show.
Cases where he did not stand trial include allegations from 2010 that he annoyed and/or molested a child under 18 years old and allegations from 2016 regarding a charge of indecent exposure.
Because all the cases were misdemeanors, Poulsen could have spent a maximum of one year in a mental facility per case, according to John Hall, a spokesman for the Riverside County District Attorney's Office.
Poulsen has no documented felony convictions in Riverside County, although at least four of his cases started out with the filing of felony charges before being reduced to misdemeanors either by the court, or as part of the plea bargaining process, Hall said.
A GoFundMe has been created to help with his medical bills and recovery.