Police: Conewago Twp. man squeezed infant daughter, breaking her arm and ribs

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch
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A Conewago Township man admitted to squeezing his infant daughter, causing her arm and ribs to fracture when she was 1 or 2 months old, police said.

Jose Rodriguez Nieves, 21, is charged with two counts of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children, all felonies.

The incident, which occurred in 2019, was brought to light after a second incident in which Nieves' daughter was brought to Lehigh Valley Hospital in May for burn wounds as a result of hot water from a bath, police said. The girl was a year old at that time.

Doctors became concerned that this was a case of potential child abuse after discussing an incident in which the girl suffered a skull and humerus fracture along with a concussion a year before, police allege.

Police said no investigation was launched into the injuries from 2019 due to consistent and nonsuspicious statements from Nieves and his wife.

Initially, Nieves told police that the baby had been crying in the middle of the night, so he went to go soothe her and accidentally dropped her, police said.

A year later, however, Nieves admitted that statement wasn't fully true, according to police. 

While Nieves did wake up to go check on the baby, he picked her up forcefully, charging documents allege.

"He advised he began squeezing her out of frustration and exhaustion and heard a pop come from her upper body," charging documents read. "Jose advised he believes the pop he heard was from her upper arm fracturing."

Nieves then "deliberately" dropped her to the floor, police said.

Nieves' wife did not know that he had intentionally hurt the baby, police said. She is not facing any charges. 

In regard to the burn wounds the girl suffered a year later, Nieves said he was giving her a bath and had drained the water from the tub. His 2-year-old son was in the bathroom with the baby when Nieves left briefly, police allege.

Soon after, Nieves heard screams coming from the bathroom and returned to see the faucet was running and hot water was filling the tub that the baby was still in, according to police.

Nieves was arrested Sunday and is in York County Prison with his bail set at $25,000, according to online court records. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 16 before District Justice David Eshbach.

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.