Two Arrested For Child Abuse
Two Fulton County residents were jailed last Wednesday amid allegations of child abuse after a 2- year-old child was hospitalized with what medical personnel deemed as life-threatening, if left untreated, injuries.
Twenty-six-year-old Joscelyn Amber Murray and Lance Alan Hixon, 32, were arrested on November 16 by Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Michael Davis following an investigation that got under way earlier this month when the female juvenile was taken to Fulton County Medical Center for treatment of injuries.
Murray and Hixon were arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Devin Horne on one count each of aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child and simple assault. Judge Horne set their release from the Franklin County Prison at $100,000 straight bail. Hixon posted bail the following day, while Murray was still listed as being incarcerated.
Trooper Davis and Cpl. William Baker of the McConnellsburg barracks were alerted to the allegations on November 4 when they received notice from Fulton County Services for Children regarding a toddler receiving medical treatment in the local emergency room.
“The medical staff observed injuries consistent with abuse and neglect,” said Davis. Upon his arrival at the hospital he reported he personally witnessed “multiple bruises covering the majority of her head, face and body” as well as swollen eyes, which were closed tightly with large abrasions beneath. The trooper further alleged in his report that the girl was also missing a large portion of her hair; had a wound on her right thigh that appeared to be caused by a strap-type object; and also had a dime-size infected wound on her left leg.
All wounds were photographed and documented prior to the girl being transported to Hershey Medical Center for additional treatment and observation. Doctors there told police investigators the girl was to be placed under anesthesia so her eyes could be opened and examined, charging documents state.
“She (Dr. Laura Duda, a treating physician) related due to the trauma around the eyes, the victim was unable to open her eyes and therefore they were unable to examine them. Dr. Duda later related the injury to the victim’s eyes was a result of trauma and an untreated infection. She related the victim did not suffer damage to her retina areas of her eyes, but she did suffer abrasions to her corneas that will impede her vision until healed,” said Davis. He added the doctor felt the abrasions under the eyes were consistent with that of a burn injury.
The girl was initially taken to the Medical Center in Mc- Connellsburg at the insistence of Hixon’s grandmother, reports show. The woman told police investigators in an interview that she had walked to her grandson’s 1889 Lehman Road residence on November 2.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, while visiting the woman maintained “she saw the little girl sitting on the sofa and she had bruises on the sides of her face.” When asked by Hixon’s relative why the girl had swollen eyes and additional injuries, Murray allegedly responded the “girl fell and her brother picks on her.”
Murray, of 2427 Heavenly Acres Ridge Road in Thompson Township, sat down with police as well to discuss the cause of the girl’s injuries. The affidavit states Murray and two juveniles in her care routinely stayed with Hixon at his Union Township home. Murray and Hixon had reportedly been dating for four to five months prior to their arrest.
Murray explained to investigators that the girl “smacked the right side of her face on the tank of the toilet” while nodding off during a late night bathroom visit. Murray maintains she used a light to check the girl’s eyes, applied ice to her face and kept a close eye on her but found the bruising on her cheek was getting darker, police alleged in charging documents.
“Murray related while she was wiping around her eyes, the wet washcloth caused brush burns around her eyes. She related she applied liquid hydrogen peroxide to the brush burns so they would not get infected. Murray related as she was applying the peroxide, the victim rubbed her face and in doing so she rubbed the peroxide in her eyes. She related the victim’s eyes started to swell,” the affidavit said.
“Hixon related that when the victim arrived (on November 2) he observed a bump on the victim’s forehead and slight bruising on her face. He related on the evening of November 3, the victim’s eyes began to swell ... . He related the victim struck her head off the toilet,” added the arresting officer in the affidavit.
Hixon reportedly went on to tell police he helped subdue the girl while her eyes were being flushed to reduce the swelling. “ ... The victim was fighting and resisting so he had to hold her very hard... . Hixon also related he had to use his body weight to help subdue the victim,” stated the affidavit.
Some of the additional bruising found on the girl’s body was explained by Murray as being connected to a fall and from playing outside. The loss of hair was allegedly linked to hair clippers used by another juvenile. Additional injuries such as blood in the ears and the infected sore were also discussed by police with the couple.