An Osceola Mills couple face charges in connection with injuries to their infant daughter.
The then 3-week-old child of Aaron Mills, 32, and Stephanie McGuire, 22, had various injuries including two broken legs, a cracked rib, lacerations and abrasions on her face, and tears in her rectum.
After a preliminary hearing Wednesday during centralized court, District Judge James Hawkins ruled all charges against Mills be sent on to the court of common pleas. Mills is charged with eight counts of aggravated assault, two counts of aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of children, criminal conspiracy, possession of drug paraphernalia, four counts of simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. He is incarcerated on $100,000 bail.
McGuire is charged with two counts of aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child, criminal conspiracy/endangering the welfare of a child, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. She waived her right to a hearing Wednesday. She remains incarcerated in lieu of $50,000 bail.
The first witness during the hearing was state Trooper David Patrick, who explained that he was called to investigate a case of a baby who had suffered possible physical and sexual abuse. The mother, McGuire, had taken the child with her to McGuire’s medical appointment on March 1 because she had a severe diaper rash. The child was first taken to Mount Nittany Medical Center before being sent on to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, he said.
On March 2, Patrick spoke to both parents separately at the police barracks in Clearfield. At that time, Mills said he didn’t know what caused the injuries. Mills explained to Patrick that the baby suffered from diaper rash that she had since birth due to diarrhea caused by an allergy to her formula. After they changed to a different formula, she continued to have diarrhea. Mills said he would clean her after each diaper change and sometimes he noticed blood after he wiped her and in the diaper.
When told the girl had a cut from her rectum to her vaginal area, Mills did not acknowledge it, Patrick testified. Mills told him the injuries to the girl’s face, including a brush burn on her nose, were caused by the child herself. He said when he went to work on March 1 she was fine except for the mark on her nose and the rash.
Patrick reviewed the list of injuries he received from a doctor at Geisinger Medical Center. The infant had two fractured femurs, severe diaper rash, tears near the rectum, a broken rib, several lacerations on the face, a tear inside her mouth between her gums and her nose, the brush burn on her nose and abrasions on her right big toe.
The doctor said she would have been in severe pain from these injuries and would have bled a lot. It was indicated that the injuries to her mouth could have been caused by a spoon or something being shoved into her mouth.
Patrick interviewed Mills and McGuire again on March 3. Mills said again that he didn’t know how the baby was injured. But he did say that at some point when he was changing her diaper he inserted his finger into her rectum in an effort to clean it out.
The next step in the investigation was a search warrant, which was executed on the couple’s apartment and their vehicle. Police found drug paraphernalia — a pipe and a grinder — in the apartment.
According to the affidavit, a garbage bag was found in their car containing three blankets, a pair of men’s boxer shorts, a man’s long-sleeve shirt, a baby outfit and a pink baby’s hat that all had blood stains.
Mills was arrested and questioned again at the police station by two other troopers, Patrick said.
District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. asked Patrick to verify a series of 11 photos of the girl’s injuries that showed additional bruising to her forehead, back of head, right arm and a large portion of her lower back.
It was noted that during this time Mills and McGuire were the only tpeople caring for the child.
Trooper David Ray testified that he and another trooper interviewed Mills on March 3 after he was arrested. Mills told Ray the baby had “explosive diarrhea” and was up several times each night. He said that he may have grabbed both feet to lift the girl when he was changing her and “snapped” it. Mills said he almost lifted the baby completely off the changing mat and realized he hurt the baby, Ray stated.
In his closing arguments, Mills’s attorney, Gary Knaresboro, stated there was no evidence regarding the charge of criminal conspiracy/endangering the welfare of a child.
Shaw said both the parents knew she had the severe diaper rash and neither took the child for immediate treatment.
“Parents have a legal duty to protect the child,” he said.