Friday, August 04, 2000

Teen mother to stand trial for child's death

Hearing will determine if she is tried as an adult

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — A Butler County judge ruled Thursday there is enough evidence for a 16-year-old girl whose infant died from multiple injuries to stand trial on criminal charges.

        Juvenile Court Judge David Niehaus will hold a hearing Aug. 23 to determine whether the mother will be tried as an adult or a juvenile.

        Dr. Robert Phalzgraph, a pathologist with the Hamil ton County Coroner's Office, testified that 11-week-old Maria Guadalupe Gomez Silva died from severe blows that caused her heart and brain to stop functioning.

        The mother's attorney, Karan Horan, said the girl did not inflict the injuries that caused the baby's death. Police said the girl admitted that she shook the baby and squeezed her face.

        Assistant Prosecutor Kathleen Romans said the evidence shows the teen-ager abused the infant.

        “Certainly a crime has occurred here, and it's likely that this young lady participated in it,” she said.

        Maria died June 12 when life support was removed at Children's Hospital Medical Center. Three days earlier, her mother had brought her to a Hamilton hospital because she had stopped breathing.

        The mother is charged with involuntary manslaughter, permitting child abuse and two counts of child endangering. She is being held at the Butler County Juvenile Detention Center.

        The baby's father, Ramon Gomez Silva, has been indicted on charges of murder, involuntary manslaughter, two counts of felonious assault and two counts of child endangering. Mr. Gomez, 21, of Hamilton, is being held at the Butler County Jail.

        Dr. Phalzgraph said the autopsy revealed that the infant suffered many injuries.

        Recent injuries included skull fractures, the dislocation of two neck vertebrae, a broken thigh bone, a broken and dislocated thigh bone, a broken shin bone, a bite mark on the side of the face, and torn tissue that bridges the gums and lips.

        Older injuries were at least 20 fractured ribs and a dislocated right clavicle.

        None of the injuries appeared to be accidental, Dr. Phalzgraph said. It would take a force similar to a car wreck to inflict the injuries Maria suffered, he said.

        “It completely boggles my mind,” Judge Niehaus said, “to think of a totally helpless, fragile 11-week-old child being treated this way.”


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