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Hanover couple accused of shaking baby hard enough to cause skull fractures

Kayota and Jocylena Beck are charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, and child endangerment, according to Penn Township Police.
Credit: Penn Township Police
Kayota and Jocylena Beck

HANOVER, Pa. — A York County couple is facing charges after police say they physically abused a six-month old infant in their care, causing the baby to suffer multiple skull fractures and other injuries.

Kayota Branson Beck, 26, and Jocylena Isabelle Beck, 25, both of Hanover, are each charged with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, aggravated assault of a victim less than six years of age, and simple assault, according to Penn Township Police.

They were charged after an investigation of injuries sustained by the victim on Jan. 3, police say.

According to police, emergency personnel were dispatched to the couple's Barrett Street home at 12:19 p.m. for the report of an unresponsive infant. The victim was transported by ambulance to the UPMC Hanover Hospital for treatment. 

Hospital staff contacted York County Children and Youth Services when they noted the child had suffered multiple skull fractures, and CYS in turn reported the incident to Penn Township Police.

In addition to multiple skull fractures, the baby also suffered a broken arm and a broken rib, had blood behind its eyes, and blood in the front and rear spine extending from the cervical vertebra to the sacrum vertebra, police say. Doctors said the injuries were the consistent with that of a baby being shaken, and happened on at least two occasions, based on evidence that some of the injuries appeared to be older.

Officers spoke to the Becks, who reported they did not know how the baby was injured. Jocylena Beck allegedly told police she believed the baby could have been injured when another child in the house knocked a step stool over and it lodged under the baby's bouncy seat, police say. Jocylena Beck said she noticed the baby's head was swelling when the ambulance was on its way, according to police.

In another interview a day later at Hershey Medical Center, where the victim had been transported for further treatment, police say Jocylena Beck denied abusing the child. Kayota Beck also was interviewed by police but did not provide any additional information, police say.

On Feb. 10, police say, a CYS worker reported to police that she had spoken to the Becks during a visit to their home, and reported Jocylena Beck "made some incriminating statements."

During the interview with CYS, the worker reported, Jocylena Beck allegedly admitted that she and her husband shake the baby to stop him from crying. Kayota Beck allegedly told the worker he Googled how hard you need to shake a baby to cause injury and learned "it needed to be 40 mph to cause injury." 

Neither of the Becks believed they shook the baby hard enough to cause its injuries, the worker reported.