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Crime & Courts

DeKalb: Man held on charges he shook baby, causing brain to bleed

Paul J. Rakestraw, 29, of DeKalb
Paul J. Rakestraw, 29, of DeKalb

SYCAMORE – A DeKalb man accused of shaking his 3-week-old son and causing bleeding in his brain was being held in the DeKalb County Jail on $300,000 bond Friday.

Paul J. Rakestraw, 29, of the 1400 block of Moluf Street, is charged with aggravated battery of a child. If convicted, he’d have to serve at least six years in prison – and have to serve at least 85 percent of the sentence – and would have to register as a violent offender against youth.

Court records show Rakestraw shook the child Wednesday, and he was arrested Thursday.

DeKalb police Cmdr. Bob Redel said the incident happened about
4 a.m. at Rakestraw’s home, and the department received a report about 1 p.m. the next afternoon that the infant was not breathing.

Redel said first responders managed to save the infant’s life. The child was taken to the hospital and apparently is doing OK there, but Redel said that it’s tough to gauge with such a young child.

As she explained her decision on bond, Chief Judge Robbin Stuckert said the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has taken custody of the boy. Public Defender Tom McCulloch asked for a short-term court date so he could figure out where Rakestraw might be allowed to live if he’s able to post $30,000 bail, which Rakestraw said he’d be unable to do.

Should he come up with the funds, he’ll be placed on electronic home monitoring and be forbidden contact with any child younger than 18.

Stuckert set a status hearing for Jan. 31.

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