Mother of 3-year-old homicide victim charged with child abuse, assault

The mother of a 3-year-old Oakland Mills boy whose death in April 2011 was later ruled a homicide has been arrested and accused of child abuse and assault in an unrelated case. The investigation into the death of Elijah Izale LaJeuness remains open and no charges have been filed.

Joaquinia LaJeuness, 28, was indicted Jan. 4 by a Howard County grand jury and arrested Jan. 6 in Meridian, Mich. The indictment was made public Jan. 9.

LaJeuness is facing two counts of second-degree child abuse, one count of second-degree assault, one count of conduct contributing to abuse and one count of obstructing and hindering a police officer, according to a copy of the indictment.

She waved extradition, was brought back to Maryland and was taken to the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup. She is beind held on $25,000 bond.

The child abuse charges in the indictment allege that LaJeuness abused Elijah between Nov. 1 and Nov. 3, 2010, and also failed to prevent him from being physically abused "when it was reasonably possible to act and when she had a duty to do so" during that same time period. The obstruction charges date to between Nov. 9 and Dec. 30, 2010.

Police said the county Department of Social Services received a report on Nov. 3 that Elijah, then 2, had marks and bruises on his face. The department contacted police six days later. A doctor determined that the injuries were not accidental, but there was not enough evidence at the time for criminal charges to be filed, according to police spokeswoman Sherry Llewellyn.

On April 13, 2011, police were called to the 9600 block of Basket Ring Road at about 4 a.m. and found Elijah LaJeuness unresponsive. The boy was taken to Howard County General Hospital and later pronounced dead. In July, his death was ruled by the state medical examiner's office to have been caused by asphyxiation.

Police said Joaquinia LaJeuness and her boyfriend were in the home with Elijah on April 13, and did not cooperate with investigators.

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