Local News

Soldier's wife said she never suspected child abuse

Posted November 21, 2008 4:43 p.m. EST
Updated November 21, 2008 6:54 p.m. EST

— The wife of a Fort Bragg paratrooper said Friday that she remains in shock over the child-abuse case that has taken her children away from her and put her husband in jail.

Sgt. Alex Wayne Mages, 22, of 106 Dotson Drive, was charged a week ago with one count each of felony child abuse inflicting serious bodily injury, felony child abuse inflicting serious injury and felony assault with a deadly weapon. He remains in the Hoke County Jail under a $150,000 secured bond.

The charges stem from injuries to Mages' 22-month-old son and 7-week-old daughter. The children were put in the custody of the Department of Social Services after being treated for their injuries at Cape Fear Valley Hospital.

"Every second I'm away from them, my heart's broken," said Mages' wife, Megan Mages, who is allowed to see the children one hour a week.

Megan Mages, 20, said she was asleep when some of the abuse occurred. The family attended a Nov. 1 party celebrating the promotion of a soldier friend, and she said she noticed bruises on her daughter's head the next day.

"I saw like fingerprints right here," she said, pointing to her left temple.

Alex Mages told his wife that he nearly dropped the baby when he tripped on an air mattress. Megan Mages said he brushed the incident off, but she insisted on going to the hospital.

"(Physicians) noticed the side of her head was swelling," she said, adding that the baby had two skull fractures and several broken ribs.

Hoke County deputies began investigating, and Alex Mages admitted that he lost his temper when the baby kept crying, she said.

“He confessed to squeezing her first because she wouldn’t stop crying,” she said. "He (then) took his wrist and bashed it into her head three times.

"I can't believe anyone would do that to a tiny little baby."

Doctors also found a broken bone in her son's shoulder from weeks earlier, she said.

Alex Mages operates unmanned aircraft, or drones, for the 82nd Airborne Division. He returned from a tour of duty in Iraq last year and was scheduled to deploy again.

"I didn't notice a difference. I didn't see any of the signs of post-traumatic stress," Megan Mages said. "I grew up with military."

She hasn't been named a suspect in the case. Hoke County authorities said the case remains under investigation and that more charges and more arrests are possible.