When Joy Lynn Csotty was arrested on multiple felony charges after investigators say she shook her friend’s 9-month-old daughter until the infant lost consciousness and stopped breathing
. Csotty then handed the infant to a neighbor and ran away, leaving the infant’s twin and a 4-year-old boy home alone.
Csotty, 45, was arrested on Jan. 24 on felony warrants charging her with aggravated child abuse and two counts of child neglect.
Csotty was babysitting the children of Jessica Langford, 27 - a 4-year-old son and twin 9-month-old daughters - on Dec. 30. She arrived at Langford’s apartment and Langford left for work.
“She came home on her break to check on her children,” said Sgt. Stefan Loeffler of the Sheriff’s Office Special Crimes Bureau. “Everything was OK.”
Shortly after Langford left again for work, neighbors say Csotty came out of the apartment with one of the infant girls wrapped in a towel. She told John Howerton, 55, who was sitting on his porch across the hall, that the child had fallen in the bathtub and was not breathing
When Howerton’s wife, Alicia, came outside, Csotty handed her the infant.
“She just said, ‘Help me. Help me. The baby’s not breathing,’” John Howerton said. “She seemed very concerned. It happened so fast. When I turned around she was gone.”
Investigators say Csotty ran behind a row of garages.
She initially ran from the deputies when they found her, but was later arrested on a warrant for failure to appear in court.
Neighbors performed CPR until the 9-month-old began breathing again. The child was then transported by air ambulance to Lee Memorial Hospital and later to Tampa Regional Hospital for treatment.
Inside Langford’s apartment investigators found small droplets of blood on the bathtub and a purse on the bathroom counter. Inside the purse investigators found unused syringes, knotted rope, wadded tissues and Csotty’s identification.
Dr. William Brooks, medical director of the Hillsborough County Child Protection Team, told investigators that the infant suffered from bilateral subdural hematomas and a retinal hemorrhage, either from a blunt force trauma or severe shaking
, according to an affidavit.
He said the child lost consciousness and stopped breathing, both signs that point to a child receiving that type of abuse.
Csotty, who has previous arrests and a conviction for petty theft, told investigators that the child simply went limp and fell back in the tub. She denied injuring the child, and said she ran because she knew she had a warrant for her arrest.
Langford said the Florida Department of Children and Families removed her three children from her home and placed them in their grandmother’s care.
Langford said she had a previous case with DCF after the twin’s father, Nichoulas Sousa, 22, physically abused her son about a year ago. The DCF verified a finding of failure to protect against Langford in that case. Court records show that Sousa was arrested on Jan. 1, 2008, and convicted in December of inflicting a physical or mental injury on a child.
DCF had two additional encounters with Langford. In 2008 there were two allegations against Langford of threatening harm to a child, one of which was verified.
“I want my kids back,” Langford said. “I feel like I should have my kids.”