Arsonist firefighter charged with abusing infant daughter

BOISE -- An Idaho man who made headlines in 2012 when he intentionally started a wildfire while working as a volunteer firefighter is in trouble with the law once more.

Nathaniel Fay Bartholomew, 23, is facing another felony charge after investigators say he abused his three-month-old daughter.

The Ada County Sheriff's Office says the investigation began Feb. 22 after someone reported the baby girl had been hurt.

Deputies went to Bartholomew’s home off Hubbard Road in southern Ada County to look for him, but no one was there. After checking several other places, deputies returned to the home and found Bartholomew, his wife and the baby the evening of Feb. 23.

MORE: Fire-starting firefighter ordered to pay $2M in restitution

Prosecutors said in court Thursday that investigators saw "significant bruising or swelling" to the baby's face and eyelid.

The girl was declared to be in imminent danger, and placed into the custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Doctors examined the infant, and discovered a brain bleed that had apparently been caused by someone shaking or dropping the baby, according to the prosecution.

Prosecutors told a judge Bartholomew gave authorities multiple stories about what happened, before admitting he had dropped her. The suspect also told deputies he had hurt the baby by "applying pressure to her temples" when he was frustrated, according to prosecutors.

Detectives collected evidence in the case before turning it over to the Ada County Prosecutor's Office, which issued a warrant for Bartholomew's arrest March 21.

RELATED: Volunteer firefighter charged with starting destructive wildfire

By that time, he had already been taken into custody of the Idaho Department of Correction for violating his parole in the arson case. He was transferred to the Ada County Jail to appear on the felony injury to a child charges Thursday morning.

Bartholomew's defense attorney asked the judge to set a low bond - between $5,000 and $10,000 - noting that the defendant was not a flight risk and had spent two years on parole without slip-ups. The judge declined, setting the bond at $150,000.

If convicted, Bartholomew could face up to a decade in prison.

If found guilty of violating his parole, he could also be ordered to serve out the roughly eight years remaining in his ten-year arson sentence.

READ: Volunteer firefighter pleads guilty to arson charge

In that case, Bartholomew was convicted of intentionally setting the Karney Fire, which burned 440 acres near Robie Creek in September 2012.

Bartholomew was 18 at the time, and working as a volunteer firefighter with the Clear Creek Fire Department. Investigators say he used pinecones and grass to start the blaze near Robie Creek Road.

The fire quickly spread out of control, burning one home to the ground and threatening 100 more. Authorities later said Bartholomew had set the fire to get the attention of his father, who was also a firefighter.

Prosecutors said the teen likely did not intend to destroy any homes, but should have known how fast the flames would spread. He was caught after witnesses reported seeing him walk away from the blaze shortly after it started.

PREVIOUS: As Karney Fire grows, more homes evacuated

Bartholomew was sent to prison, then released on parole April 30, 2015. He was ordered to pay more than $2 million in restitution after his release.

Bartholomew is due back in court April 30 for a preliminary hearing on the child abuse charge. His daughter's current condition and prognosis is unknown.

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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