MCDONOUGH, Ga. — An emergency room nurse and a doctor who treated 2-year-old Laila Daniel on the night of her death testified Thursday they were concerned about abuse when they saw bruising on the toddler's body.
Laila Daniel died Nov. 17, 2015 in the Henry County home of her foster parents, Jennifer and Joseph Rosenbaum.
The Rosenbaums say the 2-year-old choked on a piece of chicken. Prosecutors say she died of abuse at the hands of the Rosenbaums. The Rosenbaums are facing 49 charges, including murder.
Dr. Charles Evans, the emergency room doctor at Piedmont Henry Hospital who treated Laila after she was rushed to the hospital on the day of her death, testified she had extensive injuries when she arrived.
“It was an odd appearance. It didn’t look right,” Evans said.
The child had bruises from head to toe and later examinations would reveal she had a transected pancreas, internal bleeding and two broken bones.
“I felt like there was something not right so I ordered a bone survey to take a picture… kind of the entire baby,” testified Dr. Evans. “To look to see if there’s old fractures, different ages of healing. Suspected abuse.”
Jennifer Rosenbaum said Laila got those injuries after she tried to perform life-saving measure on the girl when she was choking. Rosenbaum told authorities she hit Laila hard on the back to try to dislodge the food, then performed the Heimlich and CPR.
The emergency room nurse who treated Laila when she first arrived said she found no food or debris in her airways but noted extensive bruising.
“One of the big things I noted as we went through were the different colors of the bruises,“ said Julie Espinosa, emergency room nurse at Piedmont Henry Hospital.
Espinosa said the differing colors of bruises indicated they were not injuries sustained that day.
“Initially it (the bruise) is kind of red. After a little while it’ll turn purpley (sic). After a little while longer, when the tissue underneath starts to heal, it starts turning brown, yellow and disappears.“
Espinosa said the healing process takes a long time.
“That tells me this definitely all didn’t occur in the same time frame, in the same date,” Espinosa told the courtroom. “Anything that happened to her that day would have been expected to be reddish. A lot of those were blue, brown, yellow colors… a few days out.”
PHOTOS: Laila Marie Daniel
Espinosa said later, as she was preparing to leave at the end of her shift, she rounded a corner and was surprised to encounter Millie, Laila’s 4-year-old sister who was also a foster child of the Rosenbaums.
“That child looked amazingly similar to Laila,” testified Espinosa. “I froze.”
Espinosa’s voice wavered a little as she described meeting Millie. The nurse said, per protocol, she and another staff escorted Millie to a private room so they could examine her as well.
“She had some bruising. Nowhere as extensive as Laila,” testified Espinosa. “She was very conversational. Very talkative young lady. She did say some things to us that I think the investigators have noted that were of concern to me.”
Espinosa went on to explain that Millie told her Laila had been asleep at home “before everyone came.”
When asked about the bruises on her legs, Millie said she’d been tripped, had fallen, and had also been to gymnastics class.
Espinosa had no interaction with the Rosenbaums that day.
On Thursday afternoon, a nurse who specialized in children’s abuse cases, testified about evaluating Millie the day after Laila’s death.
She testified about finding “significant trauma to the right side of her (Millie’s) face.” And injuries on or around her ear which were concerning.
The prosecutor asked how someone would get injuries like that to the side of her face.
“Something with a high force that strikes the area,” testified Kelley Jimison. “It is not typical to sustain accidental injuries to the face, ears or neck.”
Jimison said the injuries on Millie’s hip were spread over a large area, as opposed to a small area which is typical for an accidental fall or injury. When questioned by prosecutors, Jimison said the injuries would be consistent with being hit by an object or a belt buckle.
“The diffused location of injury and the length that it covers the right side of her body as well as some of the pattern markings….those are all concerning,” testified Jimison.