Groton foster mother charged after toddler found with broken bones, malnourished

Groton — A foster mother in Groton has been charged with risk of injury to a minor and cruelty to persons after an 18-month-old toddler in her care was brought to Pequot Medical Center emaciated with sunken eyes, wasted muscles and broken bones.  

Crystal Magee, 32, of 181 Mather Ave., Groton, pleaded not guilty on Feb. 10 to the charges, which are both felonies. 

She was released on a $100,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in New London Superior Court on March 10, according to court records.

Police said family members brought the toddler to the medical center on Nov. 11 because the child appeared to have lost an extensive amount of weight.

A doctor said the child appeared "severely malnourished" and was unable to walk, talk or feed himself, according to the arrest warrant affidavit.

The doctor also found scars on the child's wrist, chest and neck, visible ribs, loose skin and very little muscle mass, the affidavit said.

An X-ray found a fractured elbow and "multiple pieces of loose bone material in the area," as well as old fractures that were healing, the affidavit said.

The doctor said family members told her a worker from the Department of Children and Families had removed the child from Magee, his foster mother, and placed him with an aunt, who brought him to the medical center the following afternoon, the affidavit said.

The child was transferred from Pequot to Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford and began to gain weight and regain his functioning while being fed in the hospital, the affidavit said.

Magee told police the child was left with her in June 2015 even though she initially told DCF that she could not care for the child because she has a chronic lung disease and her husband has a brain tumor, the affidavit said.

Magee, who lives in the federally subsidized housing complex Branford Manor, told police she initially agreed to keep the child for one month, but ultimately had the child until November, the affidavit said.

A caseworker for the Family Support Center of Groton told police that she told a DCF case worker Magee "appeared extremely stressed" when she received the victim in June, and that "Crystal appeared to be overwhelmed," the affidavit said.

Magee told police she rarely saw DCF workers when she had care of the victim.

The department issued the following statement about the case:

"The department is deeply concerned about the treatment of this boy while in the care of a relative foster parent. Thankfully the boy is doing well and is receiving all appropriate care and treatment at this time. We are appalled by what happened in the home of the woman who was arrested. Our foster parents and relative foster parents — with only the rarest of exceptions — provide outstanding care for children and, accordingly, we have high standards and expectations for them. Clearly that trust was violated in this instance."

The department said it was also "conducting a review of our oversight of the home and will take any actions necessary and appropriate to address possible issues that we identify in the course of that review."

d.straszheim@theday.com

Twitter: @Dstraszheim

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