COURTHOUSE — A Norristown woman is accused of fatally injuring her 20-month-old child in her home in November. The child was taken to the hospital after being injured, but died three days later.
Jennifer Brown, 23, was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child for causing the death of her son, Lathario Brown-Jacobs, on Nov. 25, according to Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman.
Brown, who recently gave birth to another child, is not yet in custody.
According to First Assistant District Attorney Kevin Steele, authorities anticipated taking Brown into custody when she appeared at a custody hearing Tuesday, but she never showed up.
The woman claimed she was awakened by sounds coming from her son’s room at 3 a.m. on Nov. 25, and when she went to check on him, he allegedly was having difficulty breathing. She said she tried to wake him, but Lathario did not respond. She said she then became “ticked off” and began shaking him, whereupon his head struck a headboard.
The woman’s account suggested she was trying to revive him, but Montgomery Hospital emergency room physicians suspected the serious injuries were signs of child abuse, according to police.
“She had shaken him and hit his head on the headboard (of a bed),” Ferman said.
Around 4 a.m., Brown called 911 from her East Jacoby Street home to report her son’s breathing problem and emergency medical personnel transported the boy to the hospital. Because of the extent of the injuries, the child was transferred to Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia.
When interviewed by Montgomery County Detective Richard Nilsen and Norristown Detective David Mazza that morning, Brown said the boy’s head hit the headboard “maybe four times,” according to the criminal complaint.
When Norristown Detective William Mitchell interviewed a daycare worker who took care of Lathario on a regular basis, she claimed she saw suspicious marks on the boy’s shoulder, and said he frequently had a bloody nose or bloody lip when he was dropped off.
On Nov. 26, when Mazza and Nilsen interviewed the woman a second time, Brown she said she shook the 20-month-old, hitting his head on the headboard or the wall, and believed at this point, the baby “went limp.”
“The injuries were so severe, they would have immediately incapacitated the child,” the DA said.
On Nov. 28, the boy died at Children’s Hospital as a result of the injuries he sustained.
According to court papers, Dr. Chase Blanchard, a Forensic Pathologist with the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, performed an autopsy and Dr. Lucy Rorke-Adams, an expert in neuropathology, examined Lathario’s brain tissue and concluded he died as a result of severe injury to the brain.
As well, the child sustained a hemorrhage to his optic nerve, a subdural hematoma, torn corpus callosum and spinal cord damage.
The doctors concluded the injuries could not have resulted from an accidental fall or been self-inflicted.
The Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth has taken custody of Brown’s other children.
Anyone with information as to her whereabouts is asked to call the DA’s Office at 610....