Woman accused of breaking infant's legs during bath

Baby also had bruising to face, police say

TITUSVILLE, Fla. – A Brevard County woman is accused of grabbing an infant so forcefully during a bath that both of the baby's legs broke, according to the Titusville Police Department.

The investigation began on Thursday when Aijah Peterson took the infant to a pediatrician's office with unexplained injuries.

The baby girl was taken to an area hospital where doctors determined that she had a severely fractured and displaced right femur, a fractured left femur, an abrasion to her right knee, a bruise under her eye and several small bruises on the side of her face, the arrest report said.

Hospital staff suspected child abuse so they contacted law enforcement and the Department of Children and Families.

Police said calling the Florida Abuse Hotline proved to be just as effective as calling 911.

"We're just thankful that they noticed it and called DCF and then notified us immediately," said Amy Matthews, with the Titusville Police Department.

During an initial interview, Peterson denied knowing how the girl was injured, authorities said. She eventually admitted that she was giving the baby a bath and pulled her legs forcefully while trying to clean her, and likely pulled her legs higher than they are supposed to go.

Peterson said she was frustrated and overwhelmed when she caused the injury, the report said. Police said Peterson told them that the bruises on the infant's face were likely caused by moving her head so the baby wouldn't always lie on her left side, which doctors said was likely making her head misshapen.

Records show Peterson was arrested on a charge of aggravated child abuse with great bodily harm.

Police did not say what relation she has to the baby, but a neighbor who lives on Brown Avenue said Peterson is the girl's mother.

"I used to see her pushing the baby around in the stroller," Theodore Newton said.

Police said DCF is caring for the baby as she recovers. 

Peterson is expected to face a judge Wednesday afternoon at the Brevard County Jail, where she is being held without bond. 

About the Author: