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Hector, Minn., man faces felony assault charges, allegedly threw wrench at boy

OLIVIA -- A 31-year-old Hector man faces two assault charges, for first- and second-degree charges, for allegedly throwing a wrench at a then 7-year-old boy in June, striking the boy in the head and causing severe, potentially life-threatening injuries.

Dean Michael Lentz appeared Monday in Renville County District Court on the charges. His next appearance is Oct. 26 with a jury trial scheduled for Dec. 11 to 13.

According to the complaint, the boy was treated at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis for a skull fracture, cerebral spinal fluid leak and multiple facial fractures. The injuries required immediate neurosurgical intervention, according to the doctor's notes referenced in the complaint.

The investigation by the Renville County Sheriff's Office began June 10, one day after the alleged assault, when an anonymous caller reported that Lentz threw a wrench at the boy because he was mad at the child, who was hospitalized at HCMC.

The investigating officers confirmed that the child was at the medical facility and learned from the medical staff that the boy's parents reported they thought he had fallen off a bicycle. The medical staff reported the injuries were not consistent with such a fall.

A relative of the boy told investigators that he was at Lentz's residence working on cars and that the boy was in an outbuilding with Lentz. The relative said the boy was crying, that he didn't know what happened to the boy, and was eventually taken to the emergency room at the Hutchinson Hospital.

A search warrant was served on Lentz's residence on June 12, with officers locating tools near there the injury allegedly occurred.

Lentz gave a statement to Sheriff Scott Hable on June 13 that included that the boy was not listening to his requests and that he told the child that if he did not stop spitting on the doorway of the shop, Lentz would throw a ratchet at him.

Lentz allegedly admitted to intentionally throwing a ratchet at the boy, but that he did not intend to hit the child. Rather, he thought the two-pound tool would land in front of or fly past the boy instead of hitting him in the head. Lentz used photographs taken during the search warrant to identify the ratcheting wrench he had thrown at the boy.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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