Homicide charges were filed Thursday against Jennifer Ann Medzie, 21, of Allport in the death of Sophia Hoffman, 2, in 2013.
According to court documents, Medzie was caring for the child on Nov. 15, 2013, in Bradford Township when she reported to the child’s step-grandmother that the girl had gone limp in her arms. Later the child was taken by ambulance to Penn Highlands Clearfield and then was flown by medical helicopter to Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh where she was declared brain dead.
Medzie is also charged with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, simple assault and recklessly endangering another person. She was arraigned Thursday at District Judge Jerome Nevling’s office in Kylertown. She is at the Clearfield County Jail without bail.
According to the affidavit of probable cause, Medzie told police on Nov. 17, 2013, that she moved in with the victim’s father, Cody Lauder, in September 2013 and became the primary caretaker of the child.
During the week of Nov. 10, 2013, the victim began vomiting and showing signs of being sick. She and Lauder took the child to the emergency room at Penn Highlands DuBois on the evening of Nov. 14, 2013, she explained. They were told she had “flu-like symptoms” and they sent her home. She denied shaking the child or causing any injury, state police at Clearfield said.
Cody Lauder told police that before he left his home on the morning of Nov. 15, 2013, he checked on the girl in her room. He said she was asleep and breathing, so he went to work.
Medzie told police on that morning, she got the girl out of bed around 7:30 a.m. She appeared to be normal and showed no sign of being sick. After having the child, who was being potty-trained, on the toilet and trying to dress her, the girl fainted in her arms, according to Medzie.
The affidavit states Medzie knew something was wrong and called the girl’s step-grandmother, who advised her that children fall asleep like that and to let the girl sleep because she was sick.
Next Medzie said she called a friend and left a message “screaming” and telling her something happened to the girl and asked her to come to her home.
Police said she waited over an hour to call after the initial symptoms and provided no first aid to the child.
In a follow up interview on Nov. 18, 2013, Medzie allegedly admitted that in October 2013 she became upset with the victim because she would not stop crying and shook her one time.
She denied shaking the victim on the morning of Nov. 15, 2013, but admitted to shaking her a second time in October 2013. Again she claimed she apologized to the girl and said she wouldn’t shake her “a million times and have her neck snap or something,” according to the criminal complaint.
The child’s step-grandmother stated that the girl would cry when she left her house and had to go back with Medzie.
When police spoke with a friend of Medzie in January 2015, she said she received several emails from Medzie prior to the child’s death. In these emails Medzie allegedly said she was tired of watching the child and that she was going to hurt the victim or herself. Evans gave investigators a copy of the message.
A doctor determined the child was the victim of abusive head trauma, according to court records. The autopsy doctor in his report said she died of global hypoxic-ischernic encephalopathy resulting from blunt force trauma of the head. The report described injuries observed on the victim’s head and trunk as “exhibiting blunt force trauma.”
Another doctor who reviewed the medical reports and autopsy told investigators that the severity and extent of the injuries “indicate she was symptomatic in terms of intense head pain within multiple minutes after sustaining the injuries.”
Charges were filed after the case was presented to the Office of Attorney General’s Child Death Review Team. Clearfield County District Attorney William A. Shaw Jr. said.