The Ohio man who abandoned his baby alone in the woods outside Bend with a broken leg, a cracked skull and meth in his system accepted a plea deal Tuesday — five months after pledging on the courthouse steps to fight the charges.
Brandon Michael Blouin, 26, entered an Alford plea to three counts — first-degree criminal mistreatment, a felony; endangering the welfare of a minor, a misdemeanor; and being a felon in possession of body armor. In exchange for accepting responsibility, three counts against him were dismissed. Under the plea, Blouin’s attorney acknowledged that prosecutors had sufficient evidence to prove the charges.
The criminal mistreatment plea comes with a sentence of a little more than 2½ years in prison. For endangering a minor, Blouin was given five years of probation. The body armor plea got him 30 days in jail.
His trial was originally scheduled to begin April 23.
The police account of Blouin’s brief time in Bend is a shocking tale of neglect.
At 5 a.m. May 10, a homeowner on Tekampe Road called police after a woman with scratches and bruises on her arms and face — later identified as Katelin Thomas, 19 — appeared on his land and was mumbling incoherently. She told a responding sheriff’s deputy that Blouin had abused her and might be somewhere nearby with their baby, 13-month-old Bradley Michael Thomas.
At about 6:20 a.m., Blouin showed up at a home on Sholes Road. He was “disheveled” and said a group of men with guns was chasing him, according to court documents. A deputy reported Blouin appeared to be on meth. After interviewing Blouin, authorities believed Bradley was alone somewhere in the woods off China Hat Road southeast of Bend.
An extensive search was conducted, involving many off-duty units and a team of wildland firefighters that had been preparing to perform a controlled burn in the same area.
At about 11:30 a.m., sheriff’s Detective Doug Jackson located Bradley naked and asleep in the dirt and brush.
Blouin, Thomas and their son were all taken to St. Charles Bend.
Medical specialists later determined Bradley had a broken leg, fractured skull and that meth was in his blood system.
Blouin’s attorney spent Monday in negotiations with the Deschutes County District Attorney’s office, hoping to avoid what was expected to be long and complex trial. More than 30 people were identified as witnesses.
Had the case gone to trial, the state intended to play audio from recorded jailhouse communications, according to motions filed this month. Prosecutors wanted to introduce a personal safety order Thomas took out against Blouin and evidence Blouin used drugs and abused and improperly punished his son.
Blouin’s attorney, Dan Yeager, hoped to play for the court a video from the morning of the search for Bradley.
After reporting his son missing, but before the boy was found, Blouin was taken to the hospital. He attempted to describe where Bradley was, but that “proved difficult,” according to a defense motion in the case.
Accompanied by paramedics, Blouin returned to the scene of the search with an IV still attached to his arm.
“Defendant was extremely distraught and emotional due to the loss of his son,” the motion reads. “This was not described by police in their reports.”
After Bradley was found, Blouin was permitted to hold his son. Yeager subpoenaed local broadcaster Central Oregon Daily to turn over footage he said it had of Blouin “overcome with emotion” upon being reunited with his son.
Today, Bradley lives with his grandmother in West Virginia.
— Reporter: 541-383-0325, firstname.lastname@example.org