Shaken, Beaten or Both: Mother’s Boyfriend Leaves Two-Year-Old with Traumatic Brain Injury

A two-year-old boy in Spartanburg, South Carolina is clinging to life after his mother’s boyfriend allegedly beat him. The Spartanburg Herald Journal has more on the boy’s life-threatening injuries:

A Greenville Memorial Hospital physician told detectives on Wednesday that she and a neurologist believe the child has traumatic brain injury from having been shaken, beaten with a blunt- force object, or a combination of both.

Surgeons had to remove a portion of the child’s skull to relieve brain swelling and alleviate bleeding, Lt. Tony Ivey said.

The boy’s mother, Nicole Renee Dicosola, now faces felony neglect charges for leaving her two children with Joshua Michael Moton, her boyfriend. Moton had been banned from seeing either of the children as part of a safety plan Dicosola agreed to with the state’s Department of Social Services (DSS), following “at least one previous incident,” according to Ivey. Detectives have determined that Dicosola had been living with Moton and his relatives for several weeks.

The safety plan, designed to keep Dicosola’s children safe from Moton, is a common DSS arrangement:

When DSS is notified of a potential case involving neglect or abuse, a caseworker can ask police or a Family Court judge to remove the child from the home and place him or her in emergency protective custody.

Instead of removing the child from the home during a DSS investigation, the caseworker and parent(s) can develop a safety plan that sets conditions that must be met to protect the child or children, who are allowed to stay in the home.

Clearly, the safety plan failed the two boys and raises questions as to whether they should have been left with their mother or placed in foster care. Moton is in police custody, charged with felony child abuse, but the tragedy of this case may not be over:

“Doctors have told detectives and the parents that the child may not make it,” Ivey said. “This child suffered some pretty serious injuries.”