MERCER – The mother of a 4-month-old child who had suffered more than 22 rib fractures was convicted Wednesday by a jury for not stopping the alleged abuse by the baby’s father.
Kayla Renea Buchanan, 22, of Mercer, was charged Feb. 21, 2018, with endangering the welfare of children and reckless endangerment in connection with the alleged abuse, which police say occurred in the home between April 13 and Aug. 20 of 2017.
Buchanan was found guilty of endangering the welfare of children and not guilty of reckless endangerment. She faces a prison sentence of up to seven years.
“It’s the right verdict,” Assistant District Attorney David Wenger said. “She knew the baby was being hurt and she did nothing.”
By finding Buchanan not guilty of reckless endangerment, Wenger said that means the jury thought that she knew what was happening.
“It’s a parent’s job to protect their children,” Wenger said. “She should’ve done anything – take the baby to the doctor ... stand in front of him. Anything. But the mom ignored it.”
The baby’s father, Michael Scott Day, 23, of Mercer, was charged Aug. 26, 2018, with aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of children, reckless endangerment and harassment in connection. he is awaiting trial in Mercer County Court of Common Pleas.
Day admitted to investigators that in a moment of frustration he caused the injuries by squeezing the baby too tightly, according to a state police report.
A doctor at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh contacted state police on Aug. 21 after medical personnel discovered the rib fractures, which were in various stages of healing.
The infant also was diagnosed with a broken collarbone, fractured shin and a fractured thigh bone with displacement.
Police said in the report that investigators were able to “establish that the victim was in the care of only her mother or father” when the injuries took place.
A court awarded Buchanan custody of the baby last year and Mercer County Children and Youth Services closed the case, Wenger said, and added that the baby is doing well. Day has had no contact with the child since Aug. 22, 2017, Wenger said.
Buchanan’s sentencing hearing is set for June 6.
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