Ontario man charged with felonies after police discover injured child

Kenneth Kerpa III.

ONTARIO – The stepfather of a 2-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday night for assaulting and severely injuring the child.

Kenneth Kerpa III, 20, was charged with first-degree assault, third-degree assault and first-degree criminal mistreatment – all felonies.

He was lodged in the Malheur County Jail after he was arraigned in Malheur County Circuit Court Thursday.

Kerpa’s bail is $80,000.

Dave Goldthorpe, Malheur County district attorney, said the police were called to an apartment in the 2500 block of Southeast Fourth Avenue in Ontario around 10 p.m. after Kerpa called 911.

Police found the child was “obviously injured,” said Goldthorpe.

Goldthorpe said the child was taken to the hospital and later transferred to a Boise hospital by LifeFlight air ambulance.

Goldthorpe said the mother of the child was at work when police were called to the apartment.

Kepra’s case is scheduled to go before a grand jury Feb. 12.

The case is the second one in a month involving child endangerment.

On Jan. 7, Ontario police arrested Jose Montes Diaz, 24, and Marisa Solis Pizano, 26, and charged them with first-degree assault, third-degree assault, casing another person to ingest a controlled substance and first-degree criminal mistreatment – all felonies.

The two were arrested after police were dispatched to a local motel and discovered an infant with physical injuries who subsequently tested positive for methamphetamine exposure. Diaz and Pizano were initially scheduled to enter pleas Feb. 3 in Malheur County Circuit Court, but both hearings were pushed into March.

Diaz is slated to enter a plea March 24, while Pizano’s plea hearing is scheduled March 10.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]  

 Previous coverage:

Ontario police arrest pair after infant found with injuries, meth exposure

SUPPORT OUR VITAL LOCAL WORK: We provide Malheur County the local journalism that searches out the facts for you. SUBSCRIBE FOR $5/month. Click HERE.