Howard mother jailed for assaulting baby

Child hospitalized with life threatening brain injuries

BELLEFONTE — A Howard mother remains in Centre County Correctional Facility, charged with intentionally causing life-threatening injuries to her two-month-old baby girl.

Mindy Sue Jackson, 28, of 208 Mill St., Howard, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault, endangering welfare of children and strangulation by state police at Rockview. Jackson was arrested last week and arraigned before District Judge Allen Sinclair, who set bail at $101,000.

Police said Jackson struck the infant in the face and head area, kicked a car seat that the baby was in, slammed the child in a baby swing, choked the child and shook and bounced the baby swing in aggressive manner causing injuries that included severe anoxic brain injury, intracranial hemorrhage, retinal hemorrhages in both eyes and chip fractures in her left tibia.

Jackson also placed her hands around the baby’s neck and applied pressure, intentionally impeding the breathing or circulation of blood, police said.

Police began an investigation into the injuries of the baby on August 21, after Centre County Children and youth Services reported the child had just been life-flighted from Mt. Nittany Medical Center to Geisinger Medical Center with injuries that could be from a possible abuse situation.

The child’s parents are Mindy Jackson and Richard Heverly, who live together at the Howard address, police said. Residing in a separated portion of the residence is Heverly’s mother, Deb Heverly, police said.

State police spoke to the parents of the child at Geisinger. Jackson told police that the baby had not been taking a bottle at all or very little for two or three days and she took the baby to Mt. Nittany to get her checked out.

Heverly said he was at work at TA in Lamar and when he got home just before midnight the baby could barely open her eyes and was having trouble getting awake. He said this alarmed him, but he thought the baby may just be tired.

Police noted that Rockview station investigated a non-traffic death on Jan. 31, 2019 in which Mindy Jackson’s eight-month-old child died. The ruling of that death was Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. During the investigation of that incident, it was noted that the residence has a security system.

The contents of the surveillance system revealed several incidents of abuse, police said.

According to the criminal complaint:

“On August 20 at 6:25 a.m., you can see the baby in a car seat and Jackson striking the infant in the face and then appearing to choke her. At 6:38 a.m. the baby is still in the car seat when Jackson again strikes her in the face and then kicks the car seat while she is still in it.

“Later in the day on August 20, Jackson returns home at 5:55 p.m.and the baby spends most of the evening in a child swing in the living room. It does not appear that Jackson ever tried to feed the baby and instead abuses her when she begins to fuss.

“At 9:35 p.m. Jackson picks picks the baby up and aggressively bounces her once. Jackson then sits on the couch with the baby but it is unable to be determined what is going on due to the camera being blocked by an unknown object.

“At 9:45 p.m., Jackson throws the baby back into the swing in an aggressive manner. At 9:46 p.m., it appears Mindy begins to choke the baby while she is in the swing. At 11:05 p.m., Mindy takes the swing and shakes it and bounces it aggressively while the bay is still in it. Mindy then tries to forcefully show a bottle in the baby’s mouth. In the video you can see the baby being bounced around with no support.”

Richard Heverly returned from work at about 11:28 p.m. and discovered something does not seem right with the baby, police said.

Dr. Paul Bellino, a Geisinger physician, viewed the video and said the actions of the mother could absolutely be the cause of the baby’s injuries, police said.

Further, Dr. Bellino said the injuries are being treated as life threatening and if the baby does survive, her brain injury is severe enough that she will likely have effects for the rest of her life, police said.

Interviewed by state police at the Rockview barracks on Sept. 3, Jackson at first denied any claims of physical abuse to the baby. When she was shown video clips from the surveillance system, police said Jackson became emotional and stated she didn’t do these things intentionally.

“Jackson related she did everything she could to satisfy the baby and stop her from crying, but it just wasn’t working. She said her actions were just due to her becoming frustrated and she does not normally exhibit this type of behavior. She said things just got out of control and things accidentally happened. She stated she did not intend to ever her the baby,” according to police.