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A five-week-old baby was hospitalized in Florida recently after she was violently abused by one of her four fathers, Ethan Baucom. Police were alerted to the abuse by hospital staff, who called officers in to investigate after the baby was found to have severe injuries to her lungs and ribs, as well as “multiple brain bleeds.”
The child comes from a home with one mother and four fathers, who are conducting a polyamorous relationship. Baucom had been tasked with babysitting. When questioned, he told police that it was due to the difficulty he had sleeping while looking after the child that led him to harm her.
Upon investigation, it was determined that the child was attacked on three separate occasions. Tory Ojeda, the child’s mother, had reported her partner previously to the Florida Department of Children and Families, saying that Baucom told her he had “squeezed” the baby.
In late 2019, the world was introduced to Ojeda and her four partners. They lived together in Jacksonville, FL, where they took turns “swapping in and out every night. Each of the men considered her hub of their relationship, and each of the men were spokes.
“Tory is the hub, and we are spokes, on a giant wheel,” one of the men said on an episode of Love Don’t Judge. Ojeda met each of the men over the years, and in December, she revealed to the world that she was pregnant. Her longest term partner, Travis, who she has known since elementary school, is not the father of the baby. Chris, who is the most recent addition to the household, is the father.
While the men are not romantic with each other, Ojeda notes that she would not mind if any of her partners picked up another romantic connection. “They’re all more than welcome to have another partner if they so choose,” Ojeda said. “Honestly I would love it if somebody found a second partner. Y’know dividing time between all five people and making sure everyone feels included is kind of difficult.”
When they men were asked how often they experienced jealousy in the relationship, the collective answer was “a lot of the time.”
Ojeda and the men spoke in December about the prospect of raising adding a sixth person to their five person family. “We’re all raising the baby together—so everyone’s Dad,’ she said. “We’re all very, very excited to be raising a baby together.”
They even joked about the prospect of endless “go ask your dad” loops that the child might find herself in.
Ojeda’s mother was horrified to hear about her granddaughter’s “broken leg, arm, and skull fractures.” In reports to police, Baucom admitted injuring the infant, and to hearing a “pop” while he did so. Baucom is now in jail, and the child is expected to make a full recovery.
It is not yet known if Ojeda or any of the other father’s will be welcoming Baucom back into their Jacksonville home, or if his qualification of “father” will remain valid despite a potential prison term for child abuse.