Two months before Jennifer Stephenson allegedly caused serious injury to her 2-year-old son, Children, Youth and Families Department social workers investigated her infant daughter’s near-drowning.
Stephenson, 21, is charged with child abuse for allegedly tying up her son, whose injuries were so serious, his legs almost needed amputation. Children, Youth and Families Department spokeswoman Romaine Serna tells SFR her agency has been involved with the family since 2007, and was called to their Santa Fe house in November 2009 when the baby almost drowned in the bathtub.
“Rescue was called, and the child, as far as we knew, made a full recovery,” Serna says.
Because of confidentiality restrictions, Serna wouldn’t disclose whether either child was temporarily removed from the parents’ care after the near-drowning, but the son, at least, was living with Stephenson in January 2010, when his injuries were discovered. Serna confirms both children are now in CYFD custody.
Assistant District Attorney Jennifer Padgett says she expects to take the case to trial at the end of this month or in early February.
“The more we’re interviewing the doctors and learning more about the case, the less inclined I am to offer any sort of plea,” Padgett says.