Hanover-area parents facing trial; baby had skull fractures, other injuries

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
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The parents of a Hanover-area baby who suffered multiple skull fractures and other serious injuries are now facing trial in York County Court.

Kayota Branson Beck, 26, and Jocylena Isabelle Beck, 25, both of Barrett Street in Penn Township, remain free on $10,000 bail each.

On Thursday, they waived their right to a preliminary hearing on the charges against them, which are the felonies of aggravated assault and child endangerment, plus misdemeanor simple assault, court records state.

District Judge Jeffrey Sneeringer set the couple's formal arraignments in York County Court for April 21, records state. Their attorneys couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.

The child is now about 9 months old.

Penn Township Police have said it's their understanding the baby was placed in protective custody by the York County Office of Children, Youth and Families.

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

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.

Kayota Branson Beck

Dr. Lori Frasier, a physician with Hershey Medical Center's child-protection team, reported to investigators that the baby had 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, court 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.

The doctor also said the injury that caused the baby to be taken to Hanover Hospital on Jan. 3 would have been inflicted the same day, according to charging documents.

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.

Jocylena Isabelle Beck

On Feb. 12 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 younger than 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.