Orangeburg County deputies say they arrested a 25-year-old man in the beating of his 16-month-old son.
Ryan Lamar Bessinger is charged with inflicting great bodily harm upon a child, according to Orangeburg Sheriff's spokesperson Keisa Gunby.
The child's mother sought medical treatment for her son on Dec. 1 when he was not having regular bowel movements or "acting as a normal child," Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said.
"A medical evaluation indicated the child had internal injuries and needed emergency surgery," Ravenell said.
Investigators say Bessinger struck the child in the abdomen with a "karate chop" to the mid-section, causing bruising and swelling to the point of life-threatening injuries. Bessinger submitted a voluntary statement admitting he hit the child and waited nearly a week later to seek proper medical attention, deputies say.
"Under no circumstances, should a 16-month-old child be squeezed or struck by a grown man with such force to fracture ribs and perforate the child's bowel," Ravenell said. "This is an ongoing investigation and we will determine if other adults knew about this baby's injuries and failed to protect him from his father."
A judge denied bond for Bessinger at a hearing on Tuesday afternoon.