GRAPHIC: Mother, her boyfriend charged with child abuse in death of toddler

Brittany Cook, 31, and her boyfriend Joshua Tackett, 32, have been arrested on child abuse charges. (Source: KOLN)
Published: Mar. 22, 2023 at 4:27 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN/Gray News) - A mother and her boyfriend were arrested by police in Nebraska in the death of her 22-month-old child.

The Lincoln Police Department said 31-year-old Brittany Cook was arrested Tuesday and booked in the Lancaster County Jail for child abuse resulting in death.

Cook’s boyfriend, Joshua Tackett, was arrested March 14 and faces charges of child abuse resulting in death and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person.

Cook’s bond was set at $1 million Wednesday, KOLN reported. A judge also ordered her to have no contact with any child under the age of 18.

The following details may be disturbing for some readers.

Authorities said they started investigating when they were called to a hospital on March 12 for the report of a toddler with signs of obvious abuse. The child was then flown to Children’s Hospital in Omaha for a higher level of care.

According to court documents, a physician at Children’s Hospital said the child’s injuries were “non-accidental and consistent with multiple incidents of abuse.”

The documents described severe brain bleeding and swelling, hemorrhaging in both eyes, several broken ribs, injuries on his genital area, and a broken tibia among other injuries. The doctor said the injuries suggested an item was used to hurt the boy.

Doctors reportedly determined there was no brain activity on March 15 and took the child off of life support two days later.

Police said Cook initially told them she put her child down for a nap on March 12 and came back to find him unresponsive.

Investigators also said Cook told them she noticed bruises and injuries on the boy almost daily once she started dating Tackett, who is not the boy’s father.

According to court documents, Cook said Tackett told her he had passed out a few weeks ago and fell on top of the boy, who was on the floor.

However, the court documents indicated that Cook’s story changed multiple times during police interviews. Police also said there were several instances of Cook discovering injuries on her child but not seeking medical care for him.

Officials said Cook’s other children have been placed into state custody.