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Records: Hospital saw baby before beating death

Records: Hospital saw baby before beating death
Posted at 7:38 PM, Mar 01, 2016

INDIANAPOLIS -- Newly released records show a 9-week-old baby who died of blunt force trauma was seen and released just four days prior by hospital staff and a social worker.

Giuliana Schafer died on September 3, 2014, due to blunt force trauma to the head and left leg, prosecutors said.

MORE | Man arrested in death of 3-month-old baby

Her father, Christopher Schafer is charged with the baby’s murder, as well as neglect resulting in death of a child and battery to a child resulting in death.

Following the death, Call 6 Investigates submitted a records request to the Indiana Department of Child Services for the family’s case file with the agency.

Records released Tuesday show Christopher Schafer and the baby’s mother, Skye Johnson, took baby Giuliana to the hospital for a head injury and vomiting on August 30, 2014.

The parents told hospital workers that a sibling hit baby Giuliana in the head with a block two days prior, and the baby was vomiting and not eating.

A social worker assigned to the case, as well as a DCS hotline worker, both believed the parents’ story and Giuliana was discharged home with her parents.

“No indication of abuse or neglect identified,” read the social work assessment. “(Patient) is clean, well-nourished and dressed appropriate to the weather.  Family denies (domestic violence) or other involvement with (Child Protective Services) at this time.”

The August 30, 2014, report also said the DCS hotline worker provided verbal consent for Giuliana to be discharged home with her parents.

Four days later, on September 3, 2014, Giuliana was dead.

Police were called to an apartment in the 6800 block of Brendon Way Drive South around 1 a.m., where they found Giuliana Schafer unresponsive.

She was taken to Community North Hospital in critical condition and was pronounced dead a short time later.

The coroner determined the child died of blunt force trauma to the head and left leg.

"Detectives transported the father to headquarters downtown where they questioned him and the dad basically confessed that he was stressed out because the child wouldn't stop crying and that's where the injuries came from," IMPD spokesman Rafael Diaz said in 2014.

Authorities said the child's mother, Skye Johnson, was at work at the time of the incident.

Following Giuliana’s death, the Department of Child Services investigated both Johnson and Christopher Schafer.

DCS substantiated both abuse and neglect cases against Johnson, finding that she did not adequately provide for the safety of her children.

“Ms. Johnson continued to leave her children in the care of Mr. Schafer even after discovering marks and bruises on both Giuliana and (another child),” read the DCS report.

Skye Johnson is not currently facing any criminal charges.

DCS has a different burden of proof than criminal prosecutors.

For DCS to substantiate a case of abuse or neglect, they must prove the preponderance of evidence supports that the allegations are true.

Newly released records also show the household had a history with DCS, but case workers did not substantiate any abuse or neglect.

“Ms. Johnson stated there was previous history for domestic violence with the father of her oldest two children,” read the DCS report.  “Ms. Johnson stated she talked with someone from CPS at those times.”

Following Giuliana’s death, DCS also substantiated child abuse against Christopher Schafer.

Call 6 Investigates Kara Kenney was unable to reach Skye Johnson for comment Tuesday.

Kenney was also unable to reach Schafer’s attorney late Tuesday for a comment on the newly released documents.

Christopher Schafer’s criminal trial is scheduled for April 4, 2016.

Indiana Department of Child Services Spokesman James Wide released the following statement about the case:

"Anytime a call comes into the hotline, and the alleged victim is in the hospital, the hospital must have our permission to release the child.  This is statutory.

There may or may not be a clean bill of health.  It does mean we do not have evidence that would lead us to believe that the child is unsafe to leave with the care giver. 

Medical providers do not make decisions nor do they decide if the assessment is subbed or unsubbed, however, they do provide information on the medical condition of a child.  The medical professional would also provide a medical opinion as to whether an injury is consistent or plausible with the parent's explanation of how the injury happened.

We would use medical information along with everything else we know to determine a course of action."


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