On Thursday evening, a couple from Pennsylvania, Lauren, and Jacob Maloberti, were apprehended under allegations of tormenting and eventually causing the death of their five-year-old adopted son, Landon. Nicole Ziccarelli, the District Attorney for Westmoreland County, relayed this information on Friday. Medical experts reportedly discovered horrific indications of abuse on the young boy’s body.
Landon, a young enthusiast of country music, singing, and monster truck play, was transported to UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on Jan. 30 in an unconscious state. His life was tragically cut short on Feb. 7 following three distinct brain bleeds and grave injuries associated with child abuse.
Child abuse was suspected after a nurse at Allegheny Health Network’s Hempfield facility raised the issue with county emergency personnel.
Lauren Maloberti, aged 34, allegedly aroused suspicion with her inconsistent explanations to the medical staff regarding Landon’s injuries. Court documents state that she attributed the injuries to accidental falls, COVID-19 aftermaths, and self-infliction due to Landon’s behavioral issues.
Dr. Michelle Clayton, chief of the Children’s Child Advocacy Center, refuted these claims after assessing Landon’s medical records. She determined that his brain had been gravely damaged and the extensive harm to his body and limbs was not self-inflicted. Dr. Clayton also suggested to the police that Landon’s physical condition was indicative of torture.
“Landon’s injuries included blunt force trauma to his torso, head, neck, and extremities. These injuries and his malnourished state had hindered him from standing, eating, or drinking,” stated Ziccarelli.
A criminal complaint obtained by WPXI-TV suggests that the couple delayed for a day before seeking medical help for the grievously injured child, showing a concerning lack of urgency.
During the investigation, the police gathered from interviews with Landon’s five siblings that he was the solitary recipient of his mother’s violent acts due to his perceived inability to “learn his lesson.”
The complaint further revealed that text exchanges between the adoptive parents from April 2022 until Landon’s demise were predominantly contemptuous towards the child.
Kathie Jo Sheffler, Landon’s maternal grandmother, reported to the police that she had been denied access to Landon since April 2022, having observed no signs of abuse during her biweekly visits. Lauren Maloberti allegedly kept her away, citing the boy’s misbehavior.
According to the complaint, Lauren’s former colleagues also revealed that she intensely disliked her son. CBS News also reported one text message where the adoptive mother was allegedly found stating she intended to “kill him.”
The couple, including Jacob Maloberti, a 33-year-old corrections officer at Fayette State Correctional Center, have been charged with child endangerment and criminal conspiracy. Criminal homicide, and aggravated assault of a child, Lauren faces an additional charge of first-degree murder.
T.J. Klobucar, Delmont police Chief, expressed his shock, stating, “We have never encountered an incident of this magnitude in my 25 years of service with the Delmont Police Department.”
“Landon endured unspeakable abuse and trauma throughout his short existence,” Ziccarelli commented. “We intend to prosecute this case in a manner that upholds the dignity and honor Landon rightly deserves.”
Currently, both defendants are held in Westmoreland County Prison without bail.