THE COLUMBIAN, Vancouver, Washington, Wednesday, 8 September 2004.

Man charged in apparent circumcision of son, 8

Wednesday, September 8, 2004
By STEPHANIE RICE, Columbian staff writer

The Bible apparently inspired a Ridgefield man to try to circumcise his 8-year-old son, but then he called 911 because he was concerned about the amount of blood the youngster was losing.

Edwin Bruce Baxter, 33, made his first appearance Tuesday in Clark County Superior Court.

He has been charged with first-degree assault of a child. If convicted, he faces at least 10 years in prison.

Baxter was arrested Friday and taken to the Clark County Jail. His son was taken to Southwest Washington Medical Center, where he received several stitches.

On Tuesday, Superior Court Judge Diane Woolard set bail at $50,000.

She appointed attorney Tony Lowe to represent Baxter and set arraignment for Sept. 17.

Baxter lives with his wife and nine children in a two-bedroom, one-bathroom home. He supports his family with the $3,000 a month he earns as a truck driver with Helser Brothers Transfer Co. in Portland, according to documents filed in court.

Clark County senior deputy prosecutor Kim Farr said Baxter has a 1993 conviction for domestic violence, and was arrested for the same charge in 1994 but the case was dismissed.

An investigator for the Department of Children and Family Services was sent to the family's rental home Tuesday, said Doug Lehrman, Vancouver administrator for the state agency.

The fence surrounding the family's yard was padlocked and the investigator could not get in, Lehrman said.

"There was no sign of human inhabitation at the home," he said.

The investigator left his business card and will try to contact the family later.

This wasn't the first time someone from the state had tried to contact the Baxters. The parents have been reported for allegedly failing to enroll their children in school or in an approved home-school program.

"We've had some past referrals for educational neglect ... but we've never been able to lay eyes on these parents," Lehrman said.

He did not have the ages of the other children reportedly living in the home.

According to a probable-cause affidavit written by a Clark County sheriff's deputy, Baxter said he tried to circumcise his son with a knife in the bathroom after reading Genesis 17 and Exodus 4. Both biblical chapters refer to circumcision.

He told deputies he had no medical training.

When he was booked into the Clark County Jail, he allegedly told a corrections officer he had no history of mental-health issues. Drugs and alcohol were not reported to be factors.

(File created 10 September 2004)