Parents Charged in Near Death of Neglected Toddler

| February 8, 2019

OIL CITY, Pa. (EYT) – An Oil City couple were arraigned on felony child endangerment and related charges after their toddler nearly died due to alleged neglect.

Court documents indicate 39-year-old Jennifer Renee Matassa and 46-year-old Kenneth Blaine Hoover, of Oil City, were arraigned in front of Magisterial District Judge Andrew F. Fish at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, on the following charges:

  • Criminal Conspiracy Engaging – Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Felony 3
  • Endangering Welfare of Children – Parent/Guardian/Other Commits Offense, Felony 3
  • Criminal Conspiracy Engaging – Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2
  • Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Misdemeanor 2

According to police, the couple breached their duty of care, support, and protection as parents and primary caregivers of their two-year-old daughter, during the time period of June 15, 2018, to December 13, 2018. Police said the neglect nearly resulted in the child’s death on December 13, 2018.

A report issued Friday by Oil City Police indicates Matassa transported the child to UPMC Northwest on the morning of December 13, 2018, where the child arrived in a state of cardiac arrest and was not breathing. Emergency Room staff immediately began advanced life-saving techniques, which led to the resuscitation of the child. The child was then transported via LifeFlight to UPMC Children’s Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for additional treatment.

According to police, upon examination and treatment by physicians at Children’s Hospital PICU, the child was determined to be in critical condition, with a prognosis of grim to death, or permanent neurological disability. The exact diagnosis was that the long-term nutritional and medical neglect of the child resulted in a state of malnourishment and pancytopenia.

Matassa and Hoover both remain free on $50,000.00 unsecured bail.

They face preliminary hearings at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday, February 13, with Judge Fish presiding.


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