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Palm Harbor Man Accused of Child Neglect

Joseph Lusardi | Pinellas Sheriff | Arrests

He failed to inform medical staff of a head injury to his 3-month-old baby, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.

PALM HARBOR – Pinellas Sheriff’s deputies have accused a man of failing to tell doctors about a head injury suffered by his 3-month-old baby.

Joseph Lusardi, 24, of Palm Harbor, is charged with one count of child neglect. The baby is at All Children’s Hospital.

Deputies began investigating Oct. 25 when they were called to Mease Countryside Hospital for a 3-month-old child who was admitted to the hospital for seizure-like symptoms and vomiting.

The child was examined Tuesday (Oct. 31) by the child protection team and the case was then turned over to detectives in the crimes against children unit.

Deputies said they learned that Lusardi, the baby’s father, called 911 on Oct. 20 to report that the child was suffering from seizure-like symptoms. The child was taken to the hospital and was released Oct. 21 after receiving treatment for what doctors thought was acid reflux.

On Oct. 22, the child’s mother, Bethany Valenti-Drake, 19. took the baby to After Hours Pediatric Urgent Care in Palm Harbor because the child was vomiting and not eating normally. On the advice of doctors at the urgent care center, Valenti-Drake took the baby back to Mease Countryside where the child was re-admitted to the hospital.

On Oct. 23, while the baby was still in the hospital, deputies said Lusardi told Valenti-Drake that the child had fallen off a table while strapped in a car seat on Oct. 20. Valenti-Drake immediately told hospital staff of the fall and a CT scan was ordered.

Doctors confirmed the child suffered from hemorrhaging on the brain and a skull fracture. The baby was transferred to All Children’s Hospital for further medical treatment.

Deputies said Lusardi told them that he was at home alone caring for the child on Oct. 20, when the baby fell off a table while strapped in his car seat. Deputies said Lusardi admitted to them that he had withheld the information about the fall because he was scared.

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Pinellas Sheriff | Crime | Child Neglect | Arrests | Tampabay News

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