Second degree assault of a child is a class B felony.
Upon arrival, Pierce County deputies spoke with the victim, Pendergast’s 3-year-old niece, and her mother. The girl was in the back of a medical aid car according to the charging documents from the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office.
The girl had a swollen and bruised eye, split lower lip and scratches on her arm.
The documents stated the girl was transported to a nearby hospital and was later diagnosed with a fractured orbital socket and damage to her liver and kidney.
She was then transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Prior to the deputies arriving, Pendergast had left the residence.
The girl’s mother told them while she and her sister, Pendergast’s wife, were out, Pendergast took the girl and his 6-year-old son for a walk in the woods.
When the mother realized that he had taken the children, she and Pendergast’s wife went looking for them.
Two hours later, according to the documents, Pendergast returned home with the children.
The girl was wet and muddy and he was carrying her wrapped in his sweatshirt.
While deputies were still on scene, Pendergast returned and told them the girl had fallen into a mud puddle and he carried her home.
While speaking with Pendergast’s wife, according to the documents, she told deputies “she had a really bad feeling” when she learned he had taken the children.
Pendergast’s wife told deputies a few weeks earlier, she noticed a bruise on her 2-year-old’s cheek after he had been watching him.
A day following Pendergast’s arrest, his son was interviewed about what happened while on the walk in the woods.
The son said his dad pushed the girl down in the mud, picked her up and threw her down again.
He then said Pendergast pushed her down in a mud puddle and pinned her “like in a wrestling match” with her head face down in the water.
When the girl tried to lift her head out of the water, the son said Pendergast kept her head down in the water “for a bit.”
The son told investigators, Pendergast eventually picked the girl up and laid her down on the trail but she was too tired to moved.
That, the son said, is when Pendergast picked her up and started carrying her home.
Pendergast’s bail has been set at $400,000.