Mother In Custody When 7-Month-Old Found With Traumatic Head Injury Hours After Two Older Children Were Picked Up By Police

A far South Side mother was taken into custody after her 7-month-old baby was found with a traumatic head injury Thursday night, and police made not one but two trips to the apartment that day.

Video Transcript

BRAD EDWARDS: There are a lot of questions tonight after a 7-month-old baby was found with traumatic head injury hours after two children were removed from the same home.

IRIKA SARGENT: CBS2 investigator Megan Hickey spent the day digging for answers. She joins us live at Comer Children's Hospital. Megan.

MEGAN HICKEY: Right, Brad and Irika. Neighbors are left wondering how this woman was allegedly able to harm her baby hours after police took her other two children. Now, that 7-month-old brought here to Comer Children's Hospital and at last check was in critical condition.

- Most people were thinking, well, who would hurt a baby?

MEGAN HICKEY: Investigators say it was a 5-year-old boy and a 7-year-old girl wandering around this Pullman Apartment complex that raised the red flag. They were taken to a local hospital for evaluation. But their mom and their 7-month-old sister were nowhere to be found. But by the time police made a well-being check five hours later, mom and baby were already home, but this time the baby girl was unresponsive and critically injured.

- So I seen the lady in the street yelling for help, screaming.

MEGAN HICKEY: A neighbor recorded cell phone video of the disturbance outside her window.

[WOMAN SCREAMING]

Today we asked DCFS why there appears to have been a several hour gap between the well-being checks. A spokesperson told me that, unless there's a child death or criminal charges, they cannot comment.

STEPHANIE LOVE-PATTERSON: It really, really is heartbreaking that that there was help there, but it wasn't enough to kind of prevent things from happening-- these horrible things from happening.

MEGAN HICKEY: Stephanie Love-Patterson has been tracking the rise and fall of reports of child abuse in the Chicagoland area and calls for help during the pandemic.

STEPHANIE LOVE-PATTERSON: Isolation has really just served people who harm really well because there's not a lot of people to intervene.

MEGAN HICKEY: She says that a year into COVID-19 the Illinois Domestic Violence hotline call volumes have remained consistently up about 15% from pre-pandemic volumes. It's unclear if this mother has had any previous contact with DCFS. Police said she was placed into custody last night but was brought straight to a hospital for a mental evaluation.

Now, neither Chicago Police nor Comers could provide us with a condition update tonight. But again, at last check, that baby was rushed here in critical condition with a very serious injury to her head. Irika.

IRIKA SARGENT: Megan, so you were saying the mother placed in custody and a mental evaluation. Will she face any charges?

MEGAN HICKEY: Well, Irika, the Cook County state's attorney's office referred us to Chicago Police. And as of this afternoon, a spokesperson told us charges are not currently pending in this case.

IRIKA SARGENT: OK, Megan Hickey, thank you.