Three child death in 9 months: 2 by live-in boyfriends and 1 by a day-care worker. Two children were severely abused: 1 by a boyfriend, 1 by a stepmother (the custodial dad got probation).
Chandler saw 3 child-abuse deaths in 9 months
Sept. 8, 2009 12:16 PM
The Chandler Republic
The 3-year-old girl who police say died at the hands of her mother's live-in boyfriend isn't the first case of a child-abuse homicide in Chandler this year.
In June, police said another live-in boyfriend threw a 2-year-old girl onto a concrete floor, killing her. The mother and the boyfriend were indicted on child abuse and murder charges, respectively.
In January, police arrested a day-care worker who is accused of smothering a 2-year-old girl who was being fussy during nap time in November. Murder charges have been sent to the county attorney's office for review.
Three child-abuse deaths in nine months is unusually high, said Detective David Ramer.
- Megan Boehnke/The Republic/azcentral.com
IS CHILD ABUSE EVER CAUGHT BEFORE THE CHILD DIES?
Yes. Last week Alvin Dion Broom, 30, was convicted of child abuse in the beating of his girlfriend's 22-month-old son, who suffered two broken ankles, two broken arms and bleeding in his brain during four weeks with his mother and Broom. The mother, Rana Krank, 28, was sentenced to 15 years probation.
Earlier this month, Morgan Lege, the stepmother of a 27-month-old boy, was sentenced to 5 years in prison for starving the child. The father was given probation. The boy weighed 12 pounds, 12 ounces when he was brought to the emergency room not breathing in April 2008.
Both children are recovering well with family members, police said.
ARE CHILD ABUSE REPORTS INCREASING IN CHANDLER?
Yes, but not significantly. From 2005 to 2008, child-abuse reports for January through July ranged from 107 to 121. This year, through July it is 139.
Statistics from the Chandler Police Department shows a dip every year during the summer months because schools and daycares are required by law to report suspected abuse, said Ramer.
WHAT SIGNS DO I LOOK FOR IF I THINK A CHILD IS BEING ABUSED?
For physical abuse: Look for unexplained burns, cuts, bruises, bite marks or welts in atypical places like the chest, stomach, back or the back of the legs, arms and neck. Look for changes in the child's behavior, such as being withdrawn or hostile, having a fear of adults and always looking down. Sometimes kids act out physically, mimicking what they see at home, Ramer said. Also, frequent nightmares or bed-wetting can be a sign.
For sexual abuse: Look for apathy or depression, eating disorders, children having nightmares or bed-wetting. Also, an inappropriate interest in sex for the child's age or emulating sex acts. Excessive aggression and expressing fear of a particular person or family member are all signs.
For neglect: Look for children who are dirty all the time and unbathed, wearing unsuitable clothing for their weather. Children who are always hungry, or don't have any supervision.
HOW DO I REPORT SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE?
Call the hotline for Child Protective Services at 1-800-SOS-CHILD or call the police.