Adoptive mother, husband charged with murder of 5-year-old in Westmoreland County

DELMONT, Pa. — Charges have been filed against the adoptive mother of a 5-year-old boy and the mother’s husband after the child’s death in February. Officials say the pair was being investigated for severe child abuse that led to the death of Landon Maloberti.

“Landon had blunt force trauma to his head and neck, blunt force trauma to his torso, and blunt force trauma to his extremities,” said Westmoreland County District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli.

According to the criminal complaint, Lauren and her husband, Jacob Maloberti, a corrections officer at Fayette State Correctional Center, waited an entire day after severely injuring Landon to take him to the hospital themselves on January 30. The hospital staff told police Lauren showed no urgency when they arrived, and said Lauren told them Landon was “wobbly from COVID a month prior.”

A doctor at Children’s Hospital said they should have called 911 immediately, as Landon had suffered three brain bleeds and that his brain was “obliterated.”

Police said he had multiple bruises on his body, could not breathe on his own, and had rotational head trauma consistent with severe child abuse.

Police interviewed Landon’s siblings who they say told them Landon was the only one their mom spanked because “he does not learn his lesson.” Siblings allegedly told police their mother would spank Landon with her open hand, a wooden spoon, or use a spray bottle.

The criminal complaint states one child told police their mother “gets more angry” with Landon while she spanked him, and would send the children upstairs. They told police they could hear Landon cry.

Police also said Lauren’s former coworkers reported that she “hated” the boy and that he was “hard to love.”

According to the criminal complaint, texts between the Malobertis from April of 2022 until February of this year were “full of disdain” for Landon.

Police said Landon’s maternal grandmother, who is also a relative of Lauren, did not notice any signs of abuse until April of 2022, when Lauren no longer let her see Landon, saying Lauren told her “he was bad.” The grandmother said Lauren didn’t respond when she asked to see Landon over the holidays. She also told police Lauren complained that Landon would tell the grandmother he loved her but wouldn’t say the same to her.

Neighbors did not want to go on camera but told Channel 11′s Andrew Havranek they were stunned.

“I’m flabbergasted by that. I don’t know. That’s really horrible,” one neighbor said.

After Landon’s death, the family raised more than $5,000 on GoFundMe for his funeral.

Investigators said they will be looking into that as their investigation continues.

“There’s no question when you see a child so young go through so much, whether you’re a parent or not, you can really sympathize with what he must have experienced,” Ziccarelli said.

The Malobertis are due in court on August 8.

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