Father charged in boy's death

Date: 2008-08-10

Article Text:

By Rachel Gallegos

Iowa City Press-Citizen

A South Carolina man turned himself in to Iowa City Police early Saturday after police issued an arrest warrant for the death of his 20-month-old adopted son in August 2005.

Brian Dale Dykstra, 31, is charged with second-degree murder, a class B felony punishable by up to 25 years in prison.

According to an Iowa City Police complaint and news release:

Dykstra surrendered himself at the Iowa City Police station at 4:28 a.m. Saturday. He was arrested and transported to the Johnson County Jail.

He bonded out of jail early Saturday on $15,000 cash or surety.

On Aug. 13, 2005, Dykstra was home alone with his newly adopted 20-month-old son, Isaac. At 12:20 p.m., Iowa City Police received a 911 hang-up call from Dykstra's residence.

A police dispatcher called back and spoke with Dykstra, who said he thought his baby was having "a little seizure" and was having difficulty breathing. Dykstra added that he thought it might be related to a head injury.

Iowa City Police, Iowa City Fire Department and Johnson County Ambulance Service personnel responded to 918 Ginter Ave. and found Isaac Dykstra unconscious on the living room floor. Isaac's breathing was labored and he had obvious head injuries based on bruising. He was taken to University Hospitals by ambulance.

Hospital personnel immediately determined that the child had massive brain swelling, severe bleeding inside the skull and retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes, all life-threatening injuries.

The child also had bruising on other areas of his body, including his torso and legs.

Several physicians described the injuries as acute and thought they were caused earlier in the day, inconsistent with Dykstra's explanation.

Isaac had emergency brain surgery but never regained consciousness. He was declared brain dead Aug. 14, 2005.

Isaac was born Nov. 18, 2003, in Russia. Months before his death, Dykstra and his wife adopted Isaac. Since Isaac's death, Dykstra and his wife moved to Central, S.C.

Iowa City Police and the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation pursued a suspicious death investigation since Isaac's death, assisted throughout the investigation by the Johnson County Attorney's office.

Through the collection, examination and review of all evidence, including medical records, investigators concluded the child died from inflicted head trauma while the child was in Dykstra's sole custody.

Police obtained an arrest warrant for Dykstra on Thursday, charging him with second-degree murder.

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