Thursday, May 1, 2014

Custodial dad accused of fracturing skull of 10-month-old son; had only had custody for about five weeks (Columbus, Nebraska)

Judging by the age of the healing injuries, dad JUAN TREJO began abusing this baby as soon as he assumed possession.

For moms in the criminal justice system, other family members may be a better choice for child care. Or maybe we should just house babies with moms in jail.

Father accused of fracturing boy's skull

12 hours ago • By Jim Osborn

COLUMBUS — A Columbus father is accused of fracturing his 10-month-old son’s skull in multiple places after throwing him to the floor when the baby became fussy and wouldn’t stop crying.

Platte County Court Judge Frank Skorupa on Tuesday scheduled Juan Trejo, 22, and his fiancé, Julie Staroscik, 22, for Monday hearings on felony child abuse in connection with the April 22 incident that sent the infant to Columbus Community Hospital with three skull fractures and bleeding on the brain.

Trejo and Staroscik, who is not the boy’s biological mother, were arrested by Columbus Police after hospital personnel alerted authorities of the suspected child abuse. The defendants took the boy to the hospital because he was unresponsive and having trouble breathing.

Police removed the baby from the couple’s home and turned him over to the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. The boy had been living at the couple’s home for about five weeks and Trejo had parental visitations with him prior to that time.

The boy’s biological mother is currently incarcerated.

Trejo and Staroscik are the biological parents of four other children that were in the home at the time of the April 22 incident. Police said those children, who showed no evidence of abuse, were also removed from the couple’s home.

Deputy County Attorney Tonia Soukup said Wednesday the boy remained in an Omaha hospital. The child is expected to recover from his injuries, she said.

Trejo, whose bond has been set at $750,000, 10 percent allowed, has been in custody at the Platte County Detention Facility since his arrest. Staroscik, whose bond was set at $10,000, 10 percent allowed, was released from jail Wednesday.

The boy was transported to Children’s Hospital in Omaha where a bone survey by Dr. Suzanne Haney revealed about 20 fractures to the skull, ribs, both arms and both legs in different stages of healing. The doctor said the bone breaks ranged from about a week old to not more than a couple of months old.

Police Investigator Bret Strecker said Trejo admitted causing the April 22 injuries to his son when the boy was “crying and screaming and would not stop.”

The defendant said he became frustrated and threw the boy to the ground, Strecker said in a sworn statement supporting the defendant’s arrest.

“He said that he was holding (his son) in his hands while he was standing up,” the sergeant said. “He raised him a bit and then slammed him to the floor of the residence.”

Trejo denied abusing his son at any other time, Strecker said. Staroscik denied any knowledge of any of the boy's injuries. Trejo is a charged with three counts of child abuse, Class III felonies that each carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.

Staroscik had not yet been formally charged by the county attorney’s office as of Wednesday.