Mother is on trial
for alleged abuse

Lawyers debate the source
of injuries that left a boy disabled

Given up for adoption at birth, Khanh Nguyen lived in a Vietnamese orphanage until he was adopted by an American family at 13 months.

Nine months later, he and his adoptive mother, Carina Ann Humphries, who named him Jarin, arrived in Honolulu from Singapore to process his citizenship papers. But less than 24 hours later, the 2-year-old was nearly dead when he was rushed to the hospital, prosecutors said.

Humphries, 34, went on trial yesterday in Circuit Court for second-degree attempted murder for allegedly causing severe injuries to the boy, leaving him with permanent disabilities.

Jarin was rushed to Kapiolani Medical Center on May 18, 2000, and doctors discovered a skull fracture to the back of his head, massive bleeding and swelling of the brain and bleeding in both eyes, said deputy prosecutor Rom Trader.

The mother told doctors that Jarin had been hurt in an accidental fall the night before in their hotel room.

But pediatric specialists who examined the boy said it was medically impossible for a child falling off a bed less than 2 feet off the ground to sustain that type of life-threatening injury. They concluded that the injuries were likely inflicted, Trader said.

Trader said Humphries told police the boy had been standing on the bed and she was in the nearby kitchenette when she heard a noise and discovered the boy lying on the carpeted floor near the bed.

While she had not seen what happened, she assumed he had fallen, she told police. He had some redness on the back of his head, so she iced him down and tried to determine if he was all right, Trader said. She told police that she was satisfied he was OK but monitored him until she fell asleep around 2 a.m., the prosecutor said.

The next morning at 6 a.m., she tried to wake the boy, but he did not respond, so she rushed him to Kapiolani.

But defense attorney Sam King Jr. said the statement Humphries initially gave police was incorrect and that she was so embarrassed when she learned how badly Jarin was injured that she did not tell them the truth.

She later told Child Protective Services investigators she was playing a game that she often played with Jarin when the accident occurred, Trader said.

She said she was carrying Jarin facing her with his legs wrapped around her waist and swinging him when he unexpectedly launched himself backward out of her arms, King said. Jarin landed on his head on the floor, which is carpeted but concrete underneath.

Jarin's injuries are consistent with a fall from about 4 feet as Humphries later described, King said.

"This was just a terrible accident, and Mrs. Humphries didn't realize what was going on in his head until the next morning and rushed him immediately to Kapiolani."

The boy has since been returned to Humphries, and the two have moved to the mainland.

As a result of the brain injury, the boy suffered some permanent disabilities, Trader said.

"He's not a normal 5 1/2-year-old kid."


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