The mother of injured 3-year-old Arabella Parker told television host Steve Wilkos she did not call police despite her boyfriend abusing her and her daughter because she feared for their lives.
In a taped show broadcast on national television Monday, Wilkos called Parker's mother, Samantha Delcamp "the second or third worst mother he ever met." Delcamp, 23, of Trevorton, appeared on the show with her mother, Bonnie Kahley, 55, of Sunbury, and Arabella Parker's half-sister, Amanda Parker, 20 of Milton.
The episode was taped last month in Connecticut.
During the show, Delcamp told Wilkos that her boyfriend, Jahrid Burgess, 19, of Trevorton, not only beat her daughter but attempted to drown the child in a bathtub.
Delcamp, who was living in Sunbury this past summer, told Wilkos she never called the police because she feared for her life. When officers were contacted by family members, officers did not help her, she said. Delcamp said her family made multiple phone calls to police and officers told her "they said they will take care of it."
"But they never came," Delcamp said.
Susan Mathias, chief executive officer of Transitions, a crisis and victim service center, said that although she did not see the Wilkos show she understands how victims of abuse react.
"Victim's who are abused find it difficult to reach out for help because they don't know who to trust," Mathias said. "People think victims should naturally reach out for help but that is not always the case. When you're caught in the cycle of abuse it is very hard to reach out for help."
Mathias said leaving an abusive relationship is not easy.
"When that happens reaching out for help is complicated and not an easy decision," she said. "It is about power and control, and when a person leaves they are threatening the abuser, and it could cause the abuser to retaliate. So these types of decisions are very hard for a person stuck in the cycle."
Kahley said she was paid $200 to appear on the show and Delcamp received $250. Payments were paid with American Express gift cards after taping.
Amanda Parker, the older half-sister of Arabella Parker, said producers reached out via social media to have her appear on the show after reading media reports.
"I explained I wasn't sure what I could do for them and I wasn't going to go on the show," Amanda Parker said Monday after the show aired nationally. "I did not get paid for this. All they did was provide transportation to the show."
Kahley said she saw Arabella Parker with bruises on her face over the summer. When she asked Delcamp what happened, her daughter said Arabella fell. Kahley told Wilkos she called Sunbury police and Northumberland County Children & Youth Services about the suspected abuse, but nothing was done.
Delcamp said if she would have told the police, Burgess would have killed her and her daughter. Delcamp told Wilkos that Burgess would put pillows over her head, kick her and hit her head off walls.
When Kahley asked Arabella Parker what happened and how she got the bruises, Kahley said Arabella Parker pointed at Delcamp, Kahley told Wilkos.
"I didn't believe my daughter was abusing her," Kahley told Wilkos.
Wilkos confronted Delcamp during the show, telling her he did not need to read to the results of a polygraph test to know Delcamp didn't do enough to protect her daughter.
"I don't need a test to tell me you failed her," Wilkos said. "I don't need a test to tell me you're a miserable mother."
"The only reason she (Delcamp) isn't the number one worst mother is because the child is still alive," Wilkos said.
"I can't process how anyone could hurt a child and this is my sister," Amanda Parker said. "This whole situation is horrific and devastating. There are no words. I will continue to go and visit my sister but this situation is just not good at all."
Northumberland County District Attorney Tony Matulewicz said he watched the show Monday. He said due to the judicial process he would not comment on his thoughts on the show.
"To protect the integrity of the investigation and prosecution I cannot comment," he said. Matulewicz said he does not believe the show would impact his ability to get a jury if the case goes to trial.
Sunbury Police Officer in Charge Brad Hare said he could not comment on Delcamp and Kahley's claims that Sunbury police did not respond to multiple calls while the couple was living in the city this past summer. Hare said the case is being handled by the state police and any information provided by the Sunbury Police Department would be part of the state police investigation.
On Monday, Amanda Parker said she called Northumberland County Children & Youth Services on Delcamp in April and then began to have her friends call to make reports.
"I believe Children & Youth should also be accountable for this," she said.
Amanda Parker said she does not associate with Delcamp or Burgess. "I am glad I went on the Steve Wilkos Show because it got to show how many times Sam (Delcamp) changed her stories."
Delcamp is accused by troopers of felony endangering the welfare of children, obstruction of a child abuse case and hindering apprehension for prosecution, after the Oct. 10 incident that ended with Parker in Geisinger Medical Center, in Danville, where she continues to fight for her life.
State police said Parker was beaten so badly she needed to have part of her brain removed. Burgess is accused of hitting Parker, leaving her with 44 injuries, according to testimony by state police at Burgess’ preliminary hearing last month. Arabella Parker remains in critical condition.
Delcamp remains locked up on $200,000 cash bail while Burgess remains incarcerated on $500,000 cash bail. Delcamp is set to appear before Shamokin District Judge John Gembic on Friday at the Northumberland County Courthouse at 1 p.m. for a preliminary hearing.