A Bethlehem woman charged Thursday with assaulting her infant triplets in 2016 was so stressed in the weeks after their births that she told a caregiver she contemplated suicide and wanted to “throw a baby through a plate glass window,” court records say.
Ann Covalt Henry, 51, of the 400 block of Fifth Avenue, faces multiple felony counts of aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of children.
Her arrest came out of a lengthy grand jury investigation after doctors found bruises, fractures and head injuries on the 8-week-old triplets, court records show.
Police say Henry assaulted all three babies in 2016, then injured one of them again last July, after she completed parenting classes and was allowed weekend visits with the children, who were in foster care.
According to the 54-page Lehigh County grand jury presentment:
Henry was 49 when she gave birth to the triplets in July 2016, after she and her husband, Marcus Henry, sought help from fertility specialists. The presentment does not name the children or say if they were all of the same gender.
Several doulas, which are trained caregivers who assist women during and after childbirth, visited the Henry home after the babies came home from the hospital. One doula who made three visits told the grand jury the home was dirty and smelled of cat urine and feces.
A second doula called Henry a “train wreck,” who became very upset when her babies cried.
Danielle Guntle, a third doula involved in Henry’s care, told the grand jury that she believed Henry “showed signs of postpartum depression.”
On Sept. 26, 2016, Henry and her husband brought one of the babies to St. Luke’s University Hospital in Fountain Hill because his arm was twitching, the presentment states. The child was flown by helicopter to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, where doctors found he had at least three fractured ribs and other injuries.
Doctors checked the other children and found injuries on them as well, the report states.
The babies were placed in foster care and the family was supervised by Lehigh County Office of Children & Youth Services, the report states. Henry — who works as an acupuncturist, according to the report — was only permitted supervised visits with her children for more than a year, then weekend visits were approved last summer.
After one visit, foster parents observed one of the children had a cut lip and swollen face. Doctors found that the child had “bruising due to lack of oxygen or blood flow to the brain,” and “a fracture to the tibia.”
Henry blamed the child’s swelling on “spicy eggs” the family ate at a Bethlehem restaurant, the presentment states. Police interviewed the cook, who said no spices were used on the eggs, court records show.
Child abuse expert Dr. Debra Esernio-Jenssen told the grand jury that one child’s injuries were consistent with “abusive head trauma,” a term used to describe symptoms of what formerly was called shaken baby syndrome.
According to the presentment, Henry denied hurting her children and said she suspected one of the doulas caused the injuries.
Marcus Henry told the grand jury he did not know who injured his children.
Henry was arraigned Thursday before District Judge Wayne Maura, sobbing softly as he read the allegations against her. She was released on $75,000 unsecured bail.
As a condition of her bail, Henry is not permitted contact with her children, said District Attorney Jim Martin.
Attempts to reach Henry on Thursday were not successful. Henry is represented by the county public defender’s office, which could not be reached Thursday evening.
This article was originally published by MCall.com.
Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.