City woman accused of abusing baby
Seasoltz charged with aggravated assault of a child
An Altoona woman faces charges that she abused an 11-month-old baby in her care.
According to charges filed by the Blair County District Attorney’s Office, it was the first day that the baby was left in the care of Melodee J. Seasoltz, 58, who provides child day care at her home at 315 57th St. in Altoona.
The baby was dropped off about 7:30 a.m. on April 29, 2019, where there were three other children under the age of 3. The boy’s mother called Seasoltz at
10 a.m. to check on him and was told was told he was fine, Blair County Detective Randy Feathers noted in the charges.
When the mother returned at 4 p.m. to pick up her baby, Seasoltz “was holding and rocking” the child, who was “screaming,” according to the charges. Seasoltz allegedly told the mother the baby had been crying for the past three hours, and when asked why, Seasoltz never answered.
When another mother arrived to pick up her child, Seasoltz allegedly told the woman to tell the baby’s mother that Seasoltz was “the best baby sitter in the world,” Feathers wrote in the affidavit of probable cause. The baby’s mother also noticed there were five children under the age of 3 at the home day care.
The baby continued to cry during the short ride home and in the driveway, the mother noticed a red mark on the left side of the 11-month-old’s face and bruising on his left wrist.
The mother called her pediatrician who told her to take the child to the emergency room at UPMC Altoona, which she did. The mother was hoping the red mark was caused by the baby’s prolonged screaming, but when the child was examined, evidence of bruising on the entire left side of his face and the small bruise on his left arm were found by a doctor to be caused by trauma. The doctor also said the bruising on the face was not typical of any discoloration that could be caused by crying or the child being upset.
The mother also called Seasoltz as she headed to the emergency room and asked her if anything had happened. Seasoltz allegedly told her, “No, nothing happened at all,” according to the charges.
Another UPMC doctor reviewed the baby’s emergency room chart and the child abuse form from the visit, consulted the head of the ER, county child protective services, a state Department of Welfare worker and the baby’s mother while also reviewing the photos of the injuries.
The doctor reported to investigators, “These injuries are virtually diagnostic of physical abuse in a child this age,” according to the charges. The doctor noted the injuries did not occur from crying and the baby could not have caused them himself through normal play or activity. He has no medical condition that would cause them. The doctor pointed out the injuries would have caused “substantial pain” at the time they occurred.
In an interview with an Altoona police detective, Seasoltz allegedly said she couldn’t explain the injuries to the baby and said she was with him all day. She also said she held him for long periods of time because he cried from about 12:30 p.m. to when the child’s mother arrived at 4:30 p.m.
The charges indicate the mother said she picked the child up at 4 p.m.
Seasoltz was arraigned Tuesday by Magisterial District Judge Ben Jones. She is charged with felony counts of aggravated assault of a child under the age of 6 and endangering the welfare of a child.
Seasoltz was released on an unsecured $50,000 bond with bail conditions set by Jones prohibiting her to have unsupervised contact with any children that are not related to her.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 10.
Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.