Girl, 2, beaten to death with video game controller

April 8, 2008 5:11:38 PM PDT
A 2-year-old girl who was severely beaten with a video game controller by her mother's boyfriend died from her injuries and new charges were expected Tuesday, police said. Harve L. Johnson was already in York County Prison on charges of aggravated assault, reckless endangerment and other counts after police said he beat Darisabel Baez on Sunday. Baez' mother overheard the beating, but did nothing until she realized the girl was unconscious, police said.

After an autopsy, Dauphin County's coroner said the girl's injuries amounted to one of the worst cases of child abuse he has ever seen. It was clear from the bruises and other injuries on the little girl's body that Sunday was not the first time she had been abused, coroner Graham Hetrick told WGAL-TV.

The girl's mother, Neida E. Baez, 19, called for an ambulance Sunday afternoon after Johnson brought the unconscious child to her, limp and wet from an attempt to revive her in the bathtub, a police affidavit said.

Police responded to the call with the ambulance crew, and immediately contacted detectives when they saw the child's injuries, York police Lt. Ron Camacho said.

The girl had suffered injuries to her head and body and was on life support at Hershey Medical Center before being declared dead Monday night, Camacho said.

With the homicide charge, Johnson's bail was revoked. Baez was charged with endangering the welfare of a child and had bail set at $25,000. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for April 17.

Johnson acknowledged beating the girl with a video game controller before she lost consciousness, but did not say why, police said. Baez said Johnson had abused the girl in the past, and she had heard the girl scream after Johnson beat her Sunday, according to the affidavit.

Detectives said Baez was charged because she did not try to protect her daughter or call for help when she knew Johnson was beating the girl on Sunday.

Through police, family members declined interview requests. Court officials said Tuesday that they did not know whether Johnson and Baez had lawyers who could speak for them.