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Exclusive: BSO On The Hunt For Child Abuse Suspect

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Detectives are looking for Michael Benner in connection with a child abuse case. (Source: BSO)

Detectives are looking for Michael Benner in connection with a child abuse case. (Source: BSO)

Carey-Codd-600x450 Carey Codd
Carey Codd is a General Assignment Reporter for CBS4 News and jo...
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South Florida Crime

OAKLAND PARK (CBS4) – Detectives with the Broward Sheriff’s Office are telling CBS 4 that they are working to locate a child abuse suspect accused of shaking a baby.

Sixteen-month-old Michael Zink appears to be just like any other child — walking, climbing and playing. But his mother Jennifer says that about a year ago she got a call from her then-boyfriend Michael Benner — who was watching her children.

“He had called me and started panicking and told me that something’s wrong with Michael,” she told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “He’s not acting normal.”

Zink says she rushed home from work to her Oakland Park apartment. She says Benner had not called 911 so she did.

“Somebody obviously hurt him,” she said.

Broward Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Aimee Alexander says the baby was unresponsive, lethargic with eyes that would not open.

“From the results of the CAT scan, the signs of shaken baby are there,” Sgt. Alexander said. “There’s bleeding on the brain.”

Alexander says they have a warrant for Michael Benner’s arrest on child abuse and medical neglect charges but they haven’t been able to find him. Investigators believe he might be on the west coast of Florida.

Jennifer Zink says still doesn’t know what happened inside her apartment and has questions about who was responsible. But she and her father Stephan say if Benner is the one who hurt Michael then he needs to answer some questions.

“As a mother you don’t want to believe that someone would hurt an innocent 4 month old,” Jennifer said.

Zink’s father said he just wants the truth.

“If Michael (Benner) is the one that did this then he needs to come forward,” Stephan told CBS 4 News. “If he’s innocent — which I would not want an innocent man to go to jail for anything — then just take a polygraph test to prove it.”

The Zink’s say one of the biggest lessons they learned from this is that parents and caregivers need to control their tempers around children.

CBS 4 tried to reach Benner but the phone number was disconnected. BSO says if you know where Michael Benner is call Crime Stoppers at 954 493 TIPS.

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