A 17-year-old Lusby girl told Calvert County authorities last week that she suffocated her 3-month-old son in August by stuffing a pair of socks into his mouth because she was tired and he would not stop crying, according to documents filed in Calvert County District Court.
Samantha S. Staycoff of San Mateo Trail told investigators that after stuffing the socks into the infant's mouth as he lay in his crib Aug. 27, she pulled two blankets over the face of the baby, Joel W. Kozlouski, according to the charging papers.
"She stated that she wanted him to stop crying, and that at that point, she didn't care if he couldn't breathe," investigators said in the court papers filed Oct. 20 that charged Staycoff with first-degree child abuse and second-degree murder.
Staycoff, a senior at Patuxent High School, was charged as an adult because of the nature and severity of the allegations, said Cpl. Rosemary King of the Calvert Investigative Team, which is made up of officers with the Calvert County Sheriff's Office and the Maryland State Police.
Court papers show that the Calvert County Department of Social Services had been monitoring Staycoff and her care of the child. An employee at the agency, Cathy Davis, told King last week that a previous allegation of child abuse -- in which it was reported that Staycoff placed a pillow over the baby's face in early June -- had been found by the agency to be unsubstantiated.
But King said that in her questioning of Staycoff at the Calvert County Sheriff's Office last week, Staycoff said she did put a pillow over the baby's face to stop him from crying. King said she could not say who made the report to social service workers or why the incident had been ruled unsubstantiated.
Norris West, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Human Resources in Baltimore, which oversees local departments of social services, said he is barred by law from providing any details about the case.
Court papers say the Department of Social Services had instituted a "family preservation" program with Staycoff and her baby. West said that such programs are prompted by an allegation of abuse or neglect and that case workers visit the home to, among other things, keep tabs on the safety of the child.
King said Staycoff had been living at her mother's home in Lusby as she cared for the baby alone. At the time of the incident, Staycoff's younger sister and a family friend, Danny Leymeister, in his 20s, were the only other people in the house, King said. The baby's father, John Kozlouski, lives in Baltimore County, King said.
King said that Staycoff told her that she put the infant in his crib at 9 the night before but that he woke up in the middle of the night, crying. About 3 a.m., Staycoff, sleepy and frustrated that the baby would not stop crying, took a pair of the baby's socks, which were rolled together, and placed them in his mouth.
"We asked Samantha Staycoff if she knew that placing the socks in his mouth might cause him to suffocate, [and] she advised she knew that could happen," investigators said in the charging papers. Staycoff later removed the socks from the baby's mouth "because she didn't want anyone to know what she did," according to the charging documents.
Soon thereafter, the infant was taken to Calvert Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Staycoff was not questioned extensively by authorities about the baby's death until last week because they were waiting for autopsy results, which showed that the infant had also suffered a broken rib.
Court papers also said that during the baby's autopsy, investigators found signs of a previous asphyxiation, though it was unclear when that occurred, King said.
Staycoff is being held without bond at the Calvert County Detention Center in Prince Frederick. A preliminary hearing is set for next Thursday in Calvert County District Court.
West, with the Maryland Department of Human Resources, said the Calvert social services department is conducting an internal investigation.