GANT: More Details Released in Child Abuse Case

CLEARFIELD, Pa. (GANT) – A Clearfield man has been accused of assaulting his 13-week-old son.

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John C. Uceda-Drumm, 24, has been charged by Officer Devin Gill of the Lawrence Township police with four felony counts of aggravated assault-victim less than six and defendant 18 or older and one felony count of endangering the welfare of children.

He has also been charged with four misdemeanor counts each of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and disorderly conduct. He’s being held in Clearfield County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail.

The charges stem from a report of child abuse, made by a Clearfield County Children, Youth & Family Services worker to police, on Dec. 6, 2019 from the pediatrics department at Clearfield Penn Highlands, according to the affidavit of probable cause.

Gill learned the parents had brought in their 13-week-old son because anytime his right leg was touched, he’d begin to cry. The baby was subsequently taken for x-rays, which discovered two fractures in his leg.

Because this injury was “highly suspicious” for non-accidental trauma, a report was made to CYFS. The physician assistant said the mother was emotional during the exam, and repeatedly asked how she could help her son while the father was “not interactive.”

It was also noted they had brought the baby to the emergency room Dec. 2 due to feeding problems and excessive crying, and upon examination, it was recommended the baby be taken to UPMC Children’s Hospital in Pittsburgh.

While transportation was en route, Drumm reportedly deferred the transfer for further treatment against medical advice. The PA said the next day, Drumm and the mother brought their son to the pediatrics unit for a visit.

The mother advised they had the baby to the ER the night before because he was fussy, she had given him gas drops and he was still fussy. Gill requested the medical records from the baby’s examinations on Dec. 2, 3 and 6.

The PA said the baby was now in the custody of CYFS, which indicated he would be taken for additional examinations and then placed into foster care.

On Dec. 7, Gill was contacted by CYFS, which indicated the baby was admitted at UPMC Children’s Hospital because it’d been discovered he had healing rib fractures as well as fractures in both of his legs.

During an interview with the baby’s mother Dec. 12, she said the day she took her son to the doctor he’d been alone with Drumm, and that she heard him screaming. When she asked Drumm what happened, he told her he didn’t know.

She said Drumm told her their son was lying on the bed, and when he sat down on it, he began screaming. She said the baby’s grandmother began to check about his body, and when she touched his leg, he began screaming.

When Gill advised the mother of the extent of her son’s injuries, she said she didn’t know how this could have happened to him. She said perhaps their dog jumped up and caused the rib fractures, but she wasn’t sure how he suffered the leg injuries.

She said her son was seen by a pediatrician for excessive gas, and when asked, she said he doesn’t scream while under the care of her or his grandmother, but he does scream a lot when he’s with Drumm.

Gill asked the mother if she’d ever noticed any bruising or redness on her son’s body, and she said once on his leg and that when she asked Drumm about it, he said she knew how the baby’s whole body turns red when he screams.

She said after their son was taken into custody by CYFS, Drumm was told if the injuries weren’t accidental that he would have to leave their residence. She said Drumm began to cry saying he didn’t want to leave and that it was accidental.

On Jan. 11, Drumm allegedly admitted he was a “little rough” with his son on a couple of occasions the first two months because he didn’t know how to handle him, and that it took him a little while to learn.

He said sometimes the baby would slip out of his hands, and as a “reflux,” he would quickly grab the baby tightly around his ribs. Gill asked Drumm to demonstrate how he handled the baby in these situations, and he believed it was consistent with the injuries.

When Drumm was asked how he handled his son to change his diaper, he said he’d hold him up by his feet, but if he squirmed a lot, he’d hold him by his calves. Drumm allegedly went on to admit that he could’ve accidentally been too rough with him.

He told police that he “possibly, probably did it,” and repeatedly stated that he does blame himself.

Drumm is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing at 10 a.m. Jan. 22 during centralized court at the jail.

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