Social services was investigating dad, officer says

November 11, 2004|by PEPPER BALLARD

HAGERSTOWN - A Hagerstown man whose 3-year-old daughter died two weeks after she was beaten was being investigated by the Washington County Department of Social Services for about a month before the alleged Oct. 25 assault on the girl, City Police Detective Shane Blankenship said Wednesday.

Scott Patterson's daughter, Madyson King, died Tuesday morning at Children's National Medical Center in Washington D.C. She had been in a coma following an Oct. 25 beating.

Police alleged the girl was beaten after she knocked over a bucket of water at her father's 330 N. Mulberry St. home.


A warrant charging Patterson in the beating was issued Oct. 28. He was charged with first-degree child abuse resulting in severe physical injury, child abuse by a custodian, first- and second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, according to court documents.

He has been held since Oct. 30 at the Washington County Detention Center on $250,000 bond.

Blankenship said that Patterson was under investigation by the Department of Social Services, but could not provide additional information.

He said that the Hagerstown Police Department had not previously received a report of child abuse in connection with Patterson.

Charlie King, Madyson's grandfather, said Tuesday that Patterson had custody of Madyson for about the past five months.

Norris P. West, spokesman for Maryland Department of Human Resources, the parent agency of the Washington County Department of Social Services, said Wednesday that he could not verify whether Patterson was being investigated by that agency.

"We can't talk about that at all," he said.

Blankenship said that an autopsy was completed Wednesday at the Washington, D.C., Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, but a final determination on the girl's cause of death has not been made.

"The injuries were so extensive that (doctors) need time to look at everything," he said. "It's not like there was one single injury."

He said that when police receive final autopsy results, they will determine if additional charges will be filed against Patterson.

He said that doctors want to review records from Washington County Hospital, where the girl was admitted Oct. 26, the day after she was injured, and from Children's National Medical Center, where she was hospitalized in a coma until her death.

West said that in Washington County, the social services department each month investigates an average of 31.3 physical abuse cases involving children, out of an average 140.3 child protective services cases that are investigated in a month.

Washington County Assistant State's Attorney Viki Pauler said during Patterson's Nov. 1 bond review hearing that Patterson was convicted in 2000 for marijuana possession.

Court documents also indicate that Patterson was charged with assaulting his brother in 2003 and with assaulting his wife, Tanya Patterson, this year. In both cases, the charges were dropped.

Several other assault charges were listed under Patterson's criminal record, which dates to 1996, but the outcomes of those cases could not be obtained because of their age, a Washington County District Court clerk said Tuesday.

There was no indication in court records that Patterson ever was charged with child abuse prior to his Oct. 30 arrest.

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