HOUSTON — Iyke Paul Louis Jr., father of the world's only surviving octuplets, faces assault charges stemming from a September altercation at his home with his mother-in-law, authorities said Wednesday.
Louis is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 8 on the misdemeanor charges, which carry a maximum penalty of one year in jail.
Louis' eight children sparked international fascination after his wife, 27-year-old Nkem Chukwu, finished giving birth Sunday. Chukwu is in stable condition, while the infants remain in critical but stable condition close by in Houston's Medical Center complex.
Police responding to a call at the couple's Southwest Houston home Sept. 21 found the aftermath of a confrontation in which Louis' mother-in-law, 63-year-old Janet Chukwu, said Louis attacked her.
Janet Chukwu, who is visiting from Nigeria, told officers Louis had threatened his pregnant wife, saying he was going to break her hand and knee her in the back; when the mother-in-law shouted at her daughter to get away, Louis bit her and beat her with a chair until it broke, she said. Nkem Chukwu was unhurt, police said.
Louis, a 41-year-old respiratory therapist, told officers that his mother-in-law had attacked him. But because he was uninjured and Janet Chukwu had a forehead cut and a bite mark on her back, Louis was taken to jail, a police spokesman said.
Rick Castleberry, Louis' attorney, called the allegations "malarkey."
Judy Hay, spokeswoman for Houston's Child Protective Services, said the agency will investigate to determine whether the situation might put the eight infants at risk. They are not expected to be released for several weeks, at the earliest. Police alerted her to the episode early Wednesday after receiving media inquiries about the assault report, Hay said.
Also Wednesday, the octuplets' parents, who have carefully avoided the spotlight surrounding their children's birth, announced the babies' names. The names reflect the Nigerian-born parents656408577Igbo ethnic group's traditions, and their meanings in English include "God is great" and "God is my leader."