VERNON — A 24-year-old Vernon mother of three was ordered held on $250,000 bail Tuesday after her arraignment on charges that she assaulted her infant son and left him with serious head injuries, including bleeding on his brain and retinal hemorrhages that put him in the intensive care unit at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
Prosecutor Elizabeth Leaming asked Judge Jorge A. Simon to increase bail for Amanda Lynn McGuire to $500,000. The 3-month-old boy “very nearly died and it’s a miracle he survived the assault,” Leaming told the judge. The state’s case is strong, she added.
Public defender Cynthia Barlow asked the judge to set bail at $50,000, citing McGuire’s steady work record and lack of a criminal record. She new her arrest was pending, but did not flee, Barlow told the judge.
Simon left her bail at $250,000, as set by the judge who signed the warrant for McGuire’s arrest. “These are very serious charges,” the judge said. “This is a child who was injured greatly.” The state’s case is also strong, he said. McGuire was ordered back to court Feb. 21. She faces charges of first-degree assault, risk of injury to a minor and making a false statement to police.
The injured infant and McGuire’s two other children remain in the custody of the state Department of Children and Families. Although it is unlikely McGuire will post bail, Simon signed an ordering barring McGuire from having any contact with her injured son.
The police investigation into the child’s injuries began Dec. 12, when police received notification from DCF that a child had been seriously injured.
The child had been taken there the day before by the Vernon ambulance. The boy’s father, Michael McGuire, had arrived home form work Dec. 11 and was told by his wife’s grandfather, who’d been caring for the boy, that the child was making an unusual high-pitched scream. Michael McGuire also noticed that the boy felt cold, looked pale and had blue lips. He took the boy to his pediatrician in Vernon, where staff told Michael McGuire to take the boy to the hospital.
Michael McGuire took the boy to Manchester Memorial Hospital, where he was met by his wife. A doctor never saw the boy, however, because the wait was too long and the parents returned to their Vernon home. A short time later they called the ambulance, which took the baby to CCMC.
Staff at CCMC immediately evaluated the baby and determined he’d suffered a serious head injury and began treating him. Staff also sought information from the parents about how the baby had been injured.
It took Vernon detectives to figure that out, according to the warrant for Amanda McGuire’s arrest.
After a series of interviews with detectives, Amanda McGuire gradually acknowledged that she’s hurt her son, according to the warrant.
She said she got frustrated caring for the baby at night. Her recently deceased grandmother had helped her care for the children, but without her “she felt overwhelmed.” She described non-specific incidents where she’d “snatch” the baby out of his bassinet without supporting his head, putting the baby down hard grabbing the infant’s legs and then dropping the child on a hardwood floor.
On one occasion when the child was being fussy and would not sleep, she told detectives, she recalled playing her hands on the baby’s shoulders, shaking him and saying “why won’t you go to sleep?”
Then, in the presence of Vernon Det. Jim Grady and Det. Lt. Bill Meier, she told her husband “something happened to the infant and I was the cause.” She then she suffered from depression and stress from all she was going through, but that it was no excuse for what she did, according to the warrant.
By David Owens, Hartford Courant.