Investigators say school nurse discovered 7-year-old girl's injuries; Mother charged

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INDIANA COUNTY, Pa. - An Indiana County woman is accused of severely spraining her 7-year-old daughter's left wrist and lacerating her lip -- injuries that were discovered last week by a school nurse who sent the youngster to a hospital, state police said Monday.

Rebecca Lynn Smith, 33, is accused of hurting her daughter at 5 p.m. Thursday at a residence along Armerford Road in East Wheatfield Township.

According to the criminal complaint, Smith grabbed the victim and threw her to the floor after she tried to go to her grandmother’s house. Smith then sat on the victim, who had her hand pinned between her body and the floor, causing a severe sprain to her wrist and thumb.

Investigators said the girl's injuries were discovered on Friday by the nurse at the United Elementary School at Armagh, who had the girl transported to the Indiana Regional Medical Center in White.

State police were called to the hospital after the girl was taken to the facility. Evidence was found that suggested the girl had been suffering from physical abuse for some time, detectives said.

“It was reported to us that we had a possible or suspected child abuse situation,” State Police Trooper John Matchik said.

Authorities commended the school for alerting them of the injuries, and said they did right thing.

“This case illustrates how the system is designed to work with these mandated reports to ensure that these type of situations and circumstances get reported expeditiously so we can get law enforcement involved to take appropriate action,” Matchik said.

Smith was charged by state police with misdemeanor counts of simple assault and endangering the welfare of children and a summary offense of harassment.

She was arraigned Friday and released from Indiana County Jail after posting $10,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

 

Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.