MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- A 26-year-old Wisconsin woman has been charged with one count of physical abuse of a child — her own 14-month-old son.
The criminal complaint indicates that Jenna Schumacher brought her son to Children's Hospital of Wisconsin on November 5th. The child was admitted for chronic ear bleeding and perforated eardrums. Doctors indicated there was "no medical cause" for the ear injuries — and because of that, they were concerned this may be an abuse situation.
WITI reports that doctors and a child abuse specialist agreed to monitor the child in his hospital room via video surveillance — and instructed Schumacher "not to place anything into (the child's) ears."
On Nov. 14, the video surveillance revealed that Schumacher entered the child's room, reached into a pocket and pulled out a Q-tip. The complaint indicates she "violently forces the Q-tip into (the child's) right ear multiple times. (The child) is seen crying, struggling, kicking his legs and trying to get away from the defendant." About a minute later, Schumacher is seen doing the same thing.
Schumacher initially denied to investigators putting anything into the child's ears. But when confronted by the video surveillance, Schumacher told them "she began forcing Q-tips into (the child's) ears around the same time she broke up with (the child's) father." Schumacher also told investigators that sometimes she "can't stand to look at (the child) because he looks so similar to his father."
After further examination, doctors indicated the risk of permanent hearing impairment for the child is high.
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke called Schumacher's actions sadistic.
“It turns my stomach. It sickens me. It makes you shudder to think someone would take a blunt object and shove it into your ear canal. It sends chills up your spine. The child tried to resist, but what’s a 14-month-old going to be able to do? This kid is probably going to grow up now with a hearing defect because of this,” Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said.
Jessica Meyer, one of Schumacher's friends, said she was shocked by theallegations.
“I’m devastated. I’m a mother of three and I can`t imagine age any parent inflicting such harm. I thought I knew this individual. I thought she was a good, kind-hearted person," Meyer said. "I didn’t know her to be this vindictive monster behind the curtains. She appeared to be a loving mother and good friend.”
If convicted, Schumacher faces up to 40 years in prison and $100,000 in fines.