A 21-year-old woman charged in Prince George's County with child abuse in the severe beating of her 3-year-old son said yesterday in court that she has been asking the social services department in Montgomery County, where she lived until recently, to take her children away for the past year.
Vanessa McComb made her statement during a bond hearing in which a judge set bond at $10,000. Thomas B. Ferguson, an administrator in the Montgomery social services department, said last night he was unfamiliar with the case and would have his staff check records today.
The woman's son, Isaac McComb, is in critical but stable condition at Children's Hospital, Prince George's police said. He was taken there Tuesday evening. Police said that the child had been kicked, beaten with a belt, thrown against a wall and had had boiling water poured on his back while in the care of a 15-year-old boy who was babysitting McComb's children from 8 p.m. Monday until 6 p.m. Tuesday. The 15-year-old also has been charged with child abuse.
According to police, the babysitter's foster mother called an ambulance for the child after the 15-year-old called her to the McComb apartment in District Heights. McComb returned home about 9 p.m. Tuesday, and her year-old daughter was taken to an emergency foster home.
Yesterday, during her hearing before Circuit Court Judge David Gray Ross, McComb asked, "Which child abuse am I charged with?"
Ross explained that, according to the statement of charges, she allowed Isaac to be left with the 15-year-old, knowing that the boy had previously beaten her son. Ross said that according to charging documents, the child had a high fever and had suffered cuts.
Bruce Roberts, of the public defender's office, said that his client, McComb, "adamantly denies these charges." Roberts also said that during the last year, McComb had been asking social services in Montgomery County to take her children. "I asked for help; I didn't get it," said McComb, who is unemployed and receives public assistance.
Montgomery District Court Judge John C. Tracey, who handles juvenile cases, said yesterday that upon learning that McComb was leaving the county, "I transferred the proceedings over to Prince George's County."