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A Ridge man has been charged with second-degree child abuse and two offenses of second-degree assault in court papers alleging he tried to punch a woman and instead hit the 2-year-old girl she was holding, before continuing to attack the woman as she held the child.

Branden Lane Welday, 24, was “highly intoxicated,” charging papers allege, when the dispute occurred on Sept. 27 at an apartment off Point Lookout Road, where he lives with Samantha Rainer.

“The defendant attempted to assault her by striking her with a closed fist, however as she moved to avoid the assault, he struck [the] child on the left side of her face instead,” according to a charges application filed this month by St. Mary’s sheriff’s deputy Cory Ellis. “The defendant then continued to assault [the woman] while she held the child, by striking her on the head and chest multiple times before she left the residence and fled ...”

Police found “a large amount of bruising and swelling” around the child’s left eye, court papers state, and an ambulance crew recommended that the child be taken to MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital for a further evaluation.

Police could not find the suspect during a search of nearby woods, court papers state, and he was held for a bond hearing after his arrest last week on a warrant issued by a court commissioner.

jwharton@somdnews.com