Saturday, 12 February 2011

SBS: Connecticutt: DeCarvalho and Leone: Accused Baby Assaulters Arraigned, Plead Not Guilty

Harold F. Cobin | | February 3, 2011 The former foster parents of four children were arraigned in state Superior Court in Norwalk Thursday, accused of assaulting a baby in their care, resulting in a fractured skull and bruising and hemorrhaging of his brain.
Following an investigation, on Jan. 19 Westport Police charged Debbie C. DeCarvalho, 42, of 1040 Post Rd. East, with five counts of risk of injury to child and one count of first-degree assault; and Mario Leone Jr., 38, of the same address, with one count each of risk of injury to a child and first-degree assault.
Both charges are felonies.
Appearing before Judge Bruce Hudock, they pleaded not guilty and had their cases continued to Feb. 25.
Last July 2, an emergency department supervisor at Norwalk Hospital contacted Westport Police reporting a woman was there with an infant she said had a “seizure like episode,” and upon examination, a physician found had “bleeding on the brain” and a possible skull fracture.
In a sworn affidavit to obtain arrest warrants for DeCarvalho and Leone, Det. Sereniti Dobson said the examining physician, Dr. Berger, said the infant had no external bruising or lacerations, but had injuries “indicative” of shaken baby syndrome.
Dobson says DeCarvalho told her she had cared for the child for approximately three weeks and when she was changing him on the changing table, “his arms tightened up; then became flaccid and he showed signs that he was having trouble breathing.”
Dobson said she went to the foster parents’ home and spoke with Leone, who said DeCarvalho is the sole caretaker of the children and the baby had not been in anyone else’s care.
During an interview at Westport Police headquarters, Dobson alleges, DeCarvalho told her the baby did not fall or hit his head.
DeCarvalho allegedly stated she is the sole caretaker of the four children, and that she runs a dog grooming business in her home and uses baby monitors to watch what the children are doing while she is working.
“(DeCarvalho) states she walks upstairs to check on them every hour or so,” Dobson says in her affidavit, and “if the children need anything they know that they can pick up the monitor and hit the intercom button.”
Dobson says that during an interview with Leone, he said he believed something “freaky” must have happened to cause the baby’s injuries, and suggested one of the other children in their care “must have done something.”
“Leone expressed that the (redacted) old had always been jealous of the baby,” Dobson says.
She says when she asked Leone if the baby had accidently fallen, he told her he had fallen off the coach “a while ago.”
“Leon stated DeCarvalho picked him back up and put him back on the coach,” Dobson says.
Dobson says the baby was discharged from the Westchester Medical Center in New York last July 12 diagnosed with brain injuries “consistent with a traumatic event consisting of shaking impact,” and a right-sided, non-depressed skull fracture.
DeCarvalho was released after posting combined $50,000 cash bonds, and Leone was released after posting a $25,000 cash bond.
The state’s Department of Children and Family Services removed the couple’s other three foster children from their home.

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