BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — As a pediatric radiologist at Valley Children’s Hospital, Dr. Edward Nagel has examined many thousands of X-rays and seen all sorts of injuries.
But the fractures he viewed on Xander Millan were unlike anything he’d come across.
“This probably has the most rib fractures out of anyone I’ve ever seen,” Nagel said as he provided his opinion on X-rays taken of the child two years ago.
Nagel was the first witness called Monday in the trial of Xander’s parents, Jorge Millan, 23, and Elizabeth Jara, 22, who are charged with attempted murder, torture and child cruelty.
The couple was arrested in 2021 after 6-week-old Xander was taken to a hospital with injuries consistent with ongoing abuse, according to sheriff’s officials.
The baby suffered broken arms and ribs, bruises all over his body and burns on his feet that appeared to have been caused by a lighter, according to court documents. Each blamed the other when questioned by law enforcement, documents said.
The couple had been living at the home of Millan’s parents, where deputies took other children into protective custody after finding dog feces and trash on the floor and roaches crawling on the walls, documents said.
Using a green laser pointer, Nagel identified the numerous fractures visible on X-rays taken of Xander’s arms, legs and especially his ribs, which had so many breaks it appeared someone had squeezed the child’s chest, according to the doctor’s testimony. The fractures were in different stages of healing, a sign of abuse, he said.
“There’s just a lot of fractures on this patient, unfortunately,” Nagel said.
Under cross-examination by Monica Bermudez, Millan’s attorney, Nagel said he couldn’t give an exact date as to when a child was injured just by looking at X-rays. He said he has never come across or read any reports of a child suffering rib fractures at birth, no matter how difficult a delivery.
The trial resumes Tuesday afternoon. It’s expected to last until late October.