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Father sent to prison for child’s death

New London man sentenced to 15 years

By Robert Cloud


Judge Raymond Huber sentenced a former New London man to 15 years in prison for killing his 3-year-old son.

Lance S. Vandenbusch, 37, was convicted  of second-degree reckless homicide. He received the maximum prison sentence for that charge on Jan. 7.

On Dec. 3, 2013, Vandenbusch’s son, who was one month shy of his third birthday, was brought to ThedaCare Medical Center in New London.

Court records say the boy was moaning and unresponsive when he arrived at the hospital. His right arm was clenched and shaking. There was extensive bruising around his left eye and on his right cheek. There was also a large, purple bump on his forehead.

The boy was transferred to Theda Clark Medical Center in Neenah, where an emergency craniectomy was performed.

The pediatric neurosurgeon at Theda Clark, Dr. Sumon Bhattacharjee, said the head injuries were severe enough to cause serious brain damage, according to the criminal complaint.

The boy was then transferred to Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee for post-operative care.

On the morning of Dec. 4, Dr. Alice Swenson, with Children’s Hospital, contacted New London Police Officer Josh Wilson about the case.

She said the boy’s injuries were a result of being shaken, thrown or slammed.

“He is currently in grave condition and may not survive his injuries,” Swenson wrote in a Dec. 4 medical report to New London police. “If he survives this injury, (the boy) will likely be neurologically devastated.”

He died at 3:59 p.m. Monday, Dec. 9, 2013.

Vandensbusch was charged with first-degree reckless homicide on March 21, 2014.

The boy’s mother told investigators she had gone to work at approximately 10:45 a.m. on the day of the incident. Earlier that morning, she fed her children breakfast, took her older children to school, returned and watched cartoons with her 3-year-old until she left for work.

At about 12:30 p.m., the boy’s mother received a text message from Vandenbusch, indicatingthat he was getting sick. She then received another text before 1 p.m., saying the boy had vomited.

She suggested that Vandenbusch put the boy in bed and said she would try to come home early.

After finding someone to take her shift at work, the mother came home at about 2 p.m. She looked in on the boy and he was sleeping. She told police she did not notice any bruises.

The mother then went to bed. She heard the boy making “race-car noises” and Vandenbusch went to check on him. The noises stopped, then started again.

Both parents went in to check on the boy. They reported finding him with his fists clenched, his body stiff, and he would not open his eyes.

The parents drove the boy to the New London emergency room. At that time, the mother said she first noticed the bruises on the boy’s face.

Vandenbusch’s criminal history
In 1997, Vandenbusch was sentenced to six months in jail after being convicted of burglary.

In 1998, Vandenbusch was convicted of two counts of burglary in Calumet County and sentenced to 10 years in state prison. He was released on parole in 2008.

In 2011 and 2012, three different women in three different counties filed paternity suits against Vandenbusch to collect child support.

In 2012, Vandenbusch’s parole was revoked and he was returned to prison after he was convicted of resisting an officer and disorderly conduct in Winnebago County.

Vandenbusch was released from custody on Oct. 15, 2013. Less than two months later, his 3-year-old son would be dead.

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