WEST ASHLEY SC (WCSC) - A West Ashley babysitter has been arrested after doctors found five fractures on a baby girl.
The Charleston Police Department arrested 52-year-old Christine Mood and charged her with unlawful conduct towards a child. She was given a $25,000 bond.
According to Charleston PD investigators, the baby was found to have two fractures on her left arm, two fractures on her right leg and one fracture on her left leg. Police say the injuries happened in different incidents and were in different stages of healing.
The investigation began on March 11 when a police officer responded to MUSC Children's Hospital in reference to a possible child abuse incident. The parents brought their baby to the hospital and reported that an accident happened at home.
The parents told the doctor that the mother was sleeping during the day due to working the night shift, and their baby was being watched by the babysitter, identified as Christine Mood.
The mother said she was awoken by Mood who told her there was an accident involving the baby.
According to Mood, she and the victim were watching television downstairs, and the baby was sitting on her lap. Mood said the baby became off balance and fell off of her lap onto the floor hurting her arm.
The mother then rushed the baby to the emergency room to have the injury evaluated.
X-rays taken that day revealed that the baby suffered two fractures on her right arm and had a pre-existing fracture to her right leg that appeared to be healing. The doctor said the injuries to the victim's arm were not consistent with the story provided to him by the parents.
The doctor asked the parents about the pre-existing fracture to which the parents said the baby received from a prior incident while the babysitter was watching her.
In that incident, the babysitter said the baby had rolled and kicked the inside of the crib causing the leg injury. The doctor said the injury was not consistent with the story as an infant would not be able to roll over with enough force to fracture her own leg.
The doctor said the baby had a total of two arm fractures and two leg fractures. The fractures on the arm were done recently, while the fractures on the legs appeared to have happened a week or more ago. The doctor said the injuries on the arms and legs were consistent with signs of abuse.
The parents told the doctor that the baby's injuries started to become more frequent, first with minor injuries like a bump and bruises all of which happened when Mood was hired.
Investigators were able to develop the following timeline based on interviews with the parents and Mood:
On Feb. 15, Mood sent multiple text messages throughout the day to the parents saying that the baby was agitated while bathing in the sink. According to a police report, Mood later sent a message that the baby was sticking her leg through the crib bars. Police say that afternoon, she sent a photo of the victim's right leg with a red mark and said it happened in the crib.
In March, one of the parents saw two red marks on the back of the baby's head. According to police, Mood said as she was holding the baby she almost tripped over a dog and an item, and "put her weight forward and her teeth accidentally went against the back" of the baby's head.
Two days later, a bump appeared in the area of the red marks on the back of the baby's head. When the mother texted Mood and asked if she saw the injury, Mood said she had not noticed the bump. Police say earlier in the day Mood took the baby outside and put a hat on her head for photos she sent to the parents.
On April 10, Mood said the victim was in her lap, and when Mood went to reach for the child's burp cloth, the victim fell to the floor and "made a sound I've never heard before."
A report by investigators states that during a video reenactment, Mood struggled to indicate what she did next, "leaving the reenactment doll on the ground for several moments before moving on with her statement." The mother said that the baby was crying loudly when Mood told her of the injury.