Daycare operator Laura K. Baldwin faces charges of aggravated assault, simple assault, endangering the welfare of children and recklessly endangering another person.
According to court records, on May 5, 2011, Clearfield Borough Police Chief Vincent McGinnis and Officer Brian Dixon were called to Baldwin’s residence by Children, Youth and Family Services to stand by while Baldwin was interviewed for a possible child abuse case. Police learned from the CYFS representative, Lacey Smith, that the five month old child in the case received a brain injury and had to be airlifted to the Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.
During the interview, police noted that Baldwin reported that she was in the kitchen making waffles for the other children. She said she came into the living room and the alleged victim was on the floor fussing. She indicated that when she left the living room earlier, the child was in his car seat. Baldwin reportedly told police that she asked a 4-year-0ld if she picked the child up, and child said she did. During questioning, Baldwin told police that an associate of hers was in the room with the boy and the other children while she was making waffles. Smith asked Baldwin if the associate was in the room while the child was fussing, and she said she was not sure, that she may have been in the bathroom. She said she could not remember because she was so upset.
She told investigators that she picked the baby up and asked him if he was okay. She said the child’s eyes then rolled back into his head. She told them that she picked one of the child’s arms up, and it just dropped. She told investigators that she then tried to bottle-feed the child, and milk came out of his nose. She told investigators she knew that something was wrong. Smith asked Baldwin if she called 911 and Baldwin said no, she called the boy’s mother. She said the boy’s mother responded, and since her associate was there, she and the mother took the child to the emergency room.
On May 5, 2011, police interviewed the associate at the scene. Prior to her arrival, officers were notified by Clearfield County Control that the associate had called there. She wanted to notify police that she was not there when this incident occurred, that Baldwin had called her and asked her say that she was. Once on scene, officers spoke with her. She said she was at a doctor’s appointment when she received a call to go to Baldwin’s. She could not at that time, but could when she was done. She said she went to Baldwin’s and stayed until about 2 p.m. She said when she left, she took Baldwin’s child with her. She said she was called back as CYFS wanted to speak with Baldwin’s child. She said Baldwin wanted her to say she was there between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. She said she did not know why she was asked to do this, but that she was not there during that time period.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, the report from the Children’s Hospital came back, stating that the child suffered a traumatic brain injury as well as retinal bleeding. Police spoke with Dr. Ivone Kim, who stated that the documented injuries pointed to the child being shaken. She told police she felt the injuries could not have been caused by the other child dropping him. She said this is not an injury that could have happened and the child not immediately show signs of injury. She said the child’s condition would have been apparent directly after the child was injured.
On May 27 26, 2011, police spoke with Baldwin. She said she has operated a day care service at her home for several years and has had numerous children there. She said on the day in question, the alleged victim arrived between 10 and 11 a.m. She said he was in his car seat and placed on the floor. She said she did unbuckle the strap on the seat, but did not remove him from the seat. She said she went into the kitchen to make waffles for the other children, leaving the alleged victim in the living room. She said she heard the child “talking” and said it sounded as though he was hungry, but not crying. She stated she was also making him a bottle She said when she went back out, she saw the child being held off the ground around the waist by another child. She said she dropped the bottle and told the other child no, then took the alleged victim from her. She said the child appeared normal and was not crying.
Baldwin reportedly told police that she continued to hold the child while she prepared waffles. She said once this was done and the other kids were eating, she attempted to feed the boy his bottle. She said he took a drink and then his eyes rolled into the back of his head. She said the formula he just drank came back out of his mouth. She told police that she rolled him forward so he wouldn’t choke and she rubbed his chest to get him to respond.
She told police that after checking for injury, she called her husband to respond. He arrived quickly, due to his business being nearby. She she called the boys mother and while waiting for her to arrive, the boy would arch his back and whimper and that she had to attempt to keep him awake. She told police his skin was ashen.
She said the child’s mother arrived and that she asked her to take them to the emergency room. Baldwin told police this is where it got confusing. She said she thought her associate was there, but now remembers she was not. She said her husband stayed with the kids and the two women took the boy to the emergency room.
On June 29, 2011, Cpl. Jeffrey Lee of the state police interviewed Baldwin. He focused on one of the statements she made to CYFS about the location of the child when she entered the living room. Originally, Baldwin stated to CYFS that the child was on the floor. The affidavit states that now she’s reporting that someone was holding him. Baldwin stated that she never said she saw him on the floor, that she told CYFS that he could been on the floor. She also reported that she was taking Oxycodone when the incident occurred, and when asked why she was taking it, she said she could not remember.
On Sept. 6, 2011, Dixon called the Children’s Hospital and spoke with Dr. Janet Squires, Dr. Kim’s supervisor. Squires said she did not directly examine the child, but did read and approve Kim’s report. She told police that it was her opinion, after reading the reports, based on medical facts that the child was shaken. She stated that medically, it could be said the injuries occurred at the time the child exhibited the abnormal neurological activity. When asked if that meant the injuries occurred when Baldwin saw the child’s eyes roll back into his head, Squires said yes.
Police spoke with Baldwin’s associate again on Oct. 12, 2011. Among other things, she told police that sometime after the child got out of the hospital, Baldwin admitted to her that she shook the baby and that the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about.