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Posted at 04:24 PM ET, 01/09/2012

Columbia woman is charged with abusing son months before boy’s slaying

A Columbia woman was arrested Friday after a grand jury indicted her on child abuse charges — even as authorities continue to investigate the same child’s death months after a police investigation began.

Joaquinia M. LaJeuness, 28, was arrested in Michigan, Howard County police said Monday. She has since been moved to the Howard County detention center and faces two charges of second-degree child abuse, assault and other charges.

Police say they learned the information they used to charge LaJeuness — the allegations stem from a November 2010 incident — while investigating her son Elijah’s April 2011 death.

Police responding to a call of a child who wasn’t breathing found Elijah LaJeuness, 3, and took him to a hospital. He later died there, police said, and a June autopsy report ruled his death a homicide.

Nobody has been charged in Elijah’s death.

LaJeuness was charged with abuse more than a year after the county’s Department of Social Services received a report that Elijah, then 2, had suffered marks and bruises that weren’t accidental and reported the matter to police.

Authorities investigating the homicide gathered information that led to the abuse charges, police said.

By David Marino-Nachison  |  04:24 PM ET, 01/09/2012

Categories:  David P. Marino-Nachison, Howard

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