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Mother's attorney disputes infant abuse charge

He describes allegations of complicity in infant's death as false and out of character.

November 27, 2012|By Alene Tchekmedyian, alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

The attorney representing the mother of an infant who died of internal injuries said his client had no knowledge of any alleged physical abuse, calling her “very loving, very caring, very soft-spoken.”

The mother, 21-year-old Elizabeth Carter, was arrested shortly after her daughter, Violet Wojcik, was taken off life support. The father, 19-year-old Matthew Wojcik, was arrested nearly a month earlier on suspicion of felony child abuse — the day after their five-week-old infant was brought to the hospital with broken bones.

He remains in custody in lieu of $1-million bail after being charged with murder and felony child abuse causing death.

Carter faces one felony count of child abuse for allegedly permitting the infant to “be inflicted with unjustifiable physical pain and mental suffering,” according to a Los Angeles County Superior Court criminal complaint. She was released after posting $130,000 bail.

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A woman who answered the phone at Carter’s home declined to comment, but her attorney, Paul Geller, said Monday that any accusation that his client was somehow complicit in Violet’s death was false and did not correspond with her as a person.

“She certainly attended to the baby’s health when she realized there was a problem,” Geller said. “She’s come across to me as very genuine, very loving, very caring, very soft-spoken.”

Facebook photos revealed a seemingly happy couple who both graduated from Glendale High School. Last year, they visited Washington to build houses for Habitat for Humanity, bowled with friends and hiked at the Deschutes River with Carter’s grandparents.

In a photo caption, Carter referred to Wojcik as the “lovee of my lifeee.”

But on Oct. 23, the couple’s baby, Violet, was admitted to a local hospital with broken bones and injuries that appeared to be a result of child abuse, prompting hospital employees to contact Burbank police.

After interviewing hospital staff and parents, police arrested Matthew Wojcik.

Two days later, he pleaded not guilty to two counts of felony child abuse — charges that have since been amended to murder, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Carter, on the other hand, wasn’t arrested until nearly a month later.

She is due in court next month.

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