Police: Hanover-area baby suffered multiple skull fractures, other injuries

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Hanover-area baby suffered numerous serious injuries, including multiple skull fractures, believed to have been inflicted by his parents over a three-month period starting in October, according to public charging documents.

Kayota Branson Beck, 26, and Jocylena Isabelle Beck, 25, both of the 700 block of Barrett Street in Penn Township, remain free on $10,000 bail each, charged with two counts of aggravated assault and one count of child endangerment — all felonies — plus misdemeanor simple assault, according to court records.

Current phone numbers for them could not be found Tuesday, and it's unclear if they have retained attorneys.

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The child is now about 7½ months old.

Penn Township Police Chief Guy Hettinger said he doesn't know how the baby is doing.

He said it's his understanding the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families has placed the baby in protective custody.

Charging documents filed by Penn Township Police state officers were alerted to the fact that the Becks' unresponsive baby was taken by ambulance to Hanover Hospital on Jan. 3.

Kayota Branson Beck

Needed advanced care: By the time investigators arrived, the child had been transferred to Hershey Medical Center for advanced care, documents state.

Kayota and Jocylena Beck told investigators they didn't know how their younger child was hurt, police said.

Jocylena Beck suggested perhaps the baby was injured when the couple's 2-year-old son ran into a wooden stool, causing it to lodge under the baby's bounce seat, documents state.

But Dr. Lori Frasier, a physician with Hershey Medical Center's child-protection team, told investigators the baby suffered multiple skull fractures; bleeding behind the eyes; blood around the spine from the neck to the lower back; and evidence of a broken arm and rib, charging documents allege.

Frasier said the injuries amounted to child abuse and were caused by "violent shaking with impact which happened (on) at least two separate occasions," documents state, because some of the injuries were fresh and others were older.

Frasier also said the injury that caused the baby to be taken to Hanover Hospital on Jan. 3 would have been inflicted the same day, just before any head swelling, according to charging documents.

Those documents allege Jocylena Beck made statements that her baby's head began to swell as an ambulance was arriving at their home.

Jocylena Isabelle Beck

What caseworker heard: On Feb. 10, the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families alerted police that Jocylena Beck had made incriminating statements to a caseworker who met with the Becks that morning as part of the agency's family-service plan involving the couple's children, charging documents allege.

The caseworker went to the Beck home, where she was told they were audio- and video-recording her with indoor cameras they'd recently installed, police said.

The caseworker asked no questions of the parents, but Jocylena Beck told the caseworker that "we" — meaning she and her husband — shake their baby to make him stop crying, including in the car, charging documents allege.

Jocylena Beck told the caseworker the shaking is supposedly what caused the baby's brain to bounce back and forth inside his skull, but she added that she doubts the force would be great enough to cause injury, documents state.

Kayota Beck told the caseworker that he "googled it" and learned the force must be 40 mph to cause injuries, documents state. He didn't challenge his wife statements that both of them shake the baby, police allege.

On Friday, Penn Township Police obtained a search warrant for the Becks' home and seized the recordings, documents state.

They arrested the couple that day and took them to the county's central booking unit for arraignment, court records state.

Finding help: Overwhelmed parents can call The Lehman Center at 400 W. Market St. in York City — day or night — for emergency respite care for children under 7 and to learn about the many other services the center offers to parents and caregivers.

Reach The Lehman Center, which is part of the Children's Aid Society, by calling 800-635-6619 or 717-845-5771, or visit the Children's Aid Society online at www.cassd.org/thelehmancenter.

The center is available 24 hours a day to help parents in crisis and describes itself as a crisis nursery.

— Reach senior crime reporter Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.