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Local man charged with child abuse

May 27th, 2014 by WCBC Radio

On 04/15/2014 an eleven month old child was brought to the emergency room of the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center for treatment. Hospital staff quickly determined that the child was suffering from severe internal injury to the head/brain. After being stabilized, the child was transferred to the Ruby Memorial Hospital pediatric center in Morgantown, West Virginia for further treatment.


            The Cumberland Police were contacted and responded to the emergency room. It was determined that the incident that led to the child’s injuries occurred outside the city limits, so the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office was contacted and responded. Investigators with the Allegany County Department of Social Services-Child Protective Services and Allegany County Combined Criminal Investigation Unit (C3I) also responded to assist in the investigation. A joint investigation by the Sheriff’s Office, Child Protective Services, and C3I was initiated to determine the cause of the victim’s injuries.


            Numerous interviews were conducted with family members, including the victim’s mother, and the mother’s boy friend. Through interviews of the family and attending physicians, it was determined that the child’s injuries occurred while the child was in the care of the boyfriend. The boyfriend claimed that he accidentally dropped the child which caused the injuries.


            C3I and Child Protective Services Investigators worked closely with the pediatric physicians at Ruby Memorial. Numerous tests were conducted to determine what may have caused the injuries, and to make sure there were no underlying medical conditions that may have led to the child’s condition. It was determined that the child’s injuries could not have happened in the manner given by the boyfriend, and that the injuries were consistent with “shaken baby syndrome”, the result of an intentional act.


            With this information, C3I Investigators consulted with the Allegany County State’s Attorney’s Office. The case was presented to the Allegany County Grand Jury, and an indictment was issued, charging the boyfriend, 34 year old Chad Lucas Custer with 1st Degree Child Abuse, 2nd Degree Child Abuse, 1st Degree Assault, and 2nd Degree Assault.


            Custer was arrested by members of the C3I Warrant/Fugitive Unit and the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office warrant officer on 05/27/2014. He is currently being held at the Allegany County Detention Center without bond, pending his initial appearance before a Circuit Court Judge

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