One-year-old Blanco girl found with critical injuries taken off life support

Image 1 of 2

Jamie Petronella (left) John Lawrence (right) 

*Update 5/5/16* Child Protective Services says a one-year-old girl who was rushed to the hospital after she was found unresponsive has now been taken off life support.

The Blanco Police Chief says the baby had bruises on her head, face and lower jaw when officer arrived at the Blanco Oaks Apartments. Plans are to charge the girl's mother and her boyfriend with injury to a child but those charges could be upgraded.

This is an update to a previous story. The original version as follows:

A couple in Blanco have been charged with injury to a child after a one-year-old girl was found unresponsive in the couple's apartment.  The girl is in the Intensive Care Unit at University Hospital, but is not expected to survive.

Police say the couple called 911 Tuesday evening to report an unresponsive child, but when police arrived they were unable to explain the child's injuries. The couple is being held at the Blanco County Jail on unrelated charges.

Blanco Police Chief Mike Ritchey said when officers arrived at the Blanco Oaks Apartments the one-year-old girl had visible wounds.

“There was a noticeable injury, just about the size of a quarter, on it’s left temple and then on it’s lower jaw it had bruising,” Ritchey said. 

Police said the girl's mother, 23-year-old Jaime Petronella, and her boyfriend, 24-year-old John Lawrence, couldn't give any valid reason why they child was injured.

“They gave excuses which we didn't believe from the beginning,” Ritchey said.

Petronella and Lawrence have been charged with injury to a child.

"I've been here 3 1/2 years and this is only the second injury to a child case we've had, but this is the worst I've seen," said Ritchey.

A 2-year-old girl and a 3-year-old boy were also hospitalized with suspicious injuries, but are expected to survive.

“A lot of bruising, some minor cuts, other injuries, a subdural hematoma and some back injuries,” said Ritchey.

The police chief met with Child Protective Services Wednesday. They are working to find a family member who can take the 2 and 3 year old children.

A search warrant was served at the Blanco Oaks Apartments where the couple lived.
Blanco police and the Texas Rangers are investigating the case.

Chief Ritchey said this call is one he won't soon forget.

“Going to the apartments and seeing the baby laying on the floor, unresponsive and EMTs were working on her trying to revive her,” said Ritchey.

This is not the first time CPS has had contact with the couple. Police said one week ago the 3 year old had a broken arm. The hospital reported that to case workers.