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WOONSOCKET -- A city mom voicing anxiety and frustration over her child-rearing responsibilities allegedly assaulted her 16-month-old son in front of her own mother Monday afternoon, tossing him to the floor and fracturing his left shoulder.
Police charged Felicia P. Taylor, 24, of 44 Burnside Ave., with first-degree child abuse over the assault after investigating the incident on Tuesday.
The baby was initially taken to Landmark Medical Center by Taylor and family members and subsequently transported to Hasbro Children's Hospital for further treatment.
City juvenile detectives were sent to the hospital at 2:35 a.m. to open an investigation after hospital staff determined the baby's injuries appeared to be the result of abuse.
Taylor told police during interviews she had gone to her mother, Phyllis Taylor's apartment at 736 Social Street around 2 p.m. Monday and began arguing with her about her babysitting the baby. The argument continued in a bedroom where the baby was playing on the floor.
At that point, Felicia Taylor said she picked up the baby from the floor and shook him several times before then throwing him down onto the floor. The baby was reported to have struck the floor on his left shoulder and the side of his face, according to police.
The baby was reported to have begun crying and then went silent for a moment after hitting the floor, police said.
Felicia Taylor told police she had felt "terrible" about what she did and made arrangements to get a ride to Landmark Medical Center to see about treatment for her anxiety.
Police said she later left the hospital without seeing the medical staff.
Phyllis Taylor told police her daughter had requested she watch the baby because she "could not take it anymore" and indicated that the "anxiety and stress" of raising a child was "overwhelming." Phyllis Taylor voiced a belief that her daughter picked up the baby and tossed him to the floor to show she could not take it anymore.
Taylor's mother stayed with the baby until a boyfriend of her daugther, Randle Gaffney, could come to pick him up. Gaffney told police he noticed the baby was not acting normally while at his home on Second Avenue. The baby was reported to have cried himself to sleep at one point and Gaffney said his mother and sister then noticed that he could not use his left arm and hand.
Gaffney had received a call from Felicia in which she indicated she had shaken the baby but did not mention throwing him to the floor, the boyfriend told police. Gaffney believes he is the baby's biological father, police said.
After learning of his mother's concerns about the baby and speaking with Phyllis Taylor, Gaffney told police he called Felicia and told her he needed to take the child to the hospital.
Felicia Taylor told him to bring the baby back to her home at 44 Burnside Ave., so she could go along to the hospital, police said. Upon his arrival there, Gaffney said Taylor met him outside and took the baby out of his car seat to carry him toward the house.
At that point, police said Taylor's live-in boyfriend, John Barber, arrived on scene with his parents and indicated they would take the child to Landmark with Felicia Taylor. Barber believes he may be the child's biological father, police said.
Taylor was reported to have placed the baby in the back of Barber's car and left for Landmark, police said. Gaffney told police he followed along in his own vehicle to make sure the child went to the hospital.
Felicia Taylor was processed on first degree child abuse charge of aggravated assault at the police station and scheduled for a court hearing on the allegation, police said. A DCYF caseworker familar with the family accompanied the baby to Hasbro Children's Hospital for his treatment, police said.
Woonsocket Police Patrolman Jason Robinson, Det. Sgt. John Scully, and Juvenile Det. Ronald Marcos and Peter Menard conducted the department's investigation of the case.