NORRISTOWN — An Upper Merion man who allegedly beat his infant son, causing severe injuries including rib fractures and lacerations to his liver, must answer to attempted homicide charges in Montgomery County Court.
Daniel Scott Rohloff, 33, of the 300 block of Jefferson Street in the Bridgeport section of Upper Merion, was held for trial, after a preliminary hearing on Wednesday on charges of attempted murder, aggravated assault, endangering the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering another person in connection with the July 26 alleged beating of his 2-month-old son, Landon.
Rohloff will remain in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility in lieu of $1 million cash bail to await his trial.
Meanwhile, Rohloff’s mother, Michelle Rohloff, 63, of West Palm Beach, Fla., waived her preliminary hearing and was ordered to stand trial on charges of endangering the welfare of a child and recklessly endangering another person in connection with alleged incidents related to the beating of her grandson.
With those charges, prosecutors alleged Michelle Rohloff endangered the infant by violating her duty of care when she allowed her son to be with the child unsupervised.
Specifically, with the charges, detectives alleged an investigation found that Michelle Rohloff was in a bedroom of the family’s Upper Merion home and allowed Daniel Rohloff to be alone with the baby in violation of an Office of Children and Youth safety plan and a court order, and remained in her bedroom despite baby Landon’s loud and unusual crying.
Detectives alleged Michelle Rohloff had “voluntarily assumed the role of the sole OCY approved supervisor in the home.”
Michelle Rohloff remains free on $25,000 unsecured bail to await her trial on the charges.
The Rohloffs will face formal arraignment hearings on their charges on Oct. 20 in county court, after which a judge will set trial dates.
Prosecutors Brianna Ringwood and Kelly S. Lloyd are handling the case.
Defense lawyer Keith Harbison represents Daniel Rohloff, according to court records. Defense lawyer Abraham Hobson III represents Michelle Rohloff.
An investigation began on July 27 when detectives responded to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for a report of a 2-month-old boy suffering from “inflicted” wounds, according to a criminal complaint filed by county Detective Heather Long and Upper Merion Detective Michael Davis.
Doctors reported baby Landon had been brought to the hospital by his parents at 6:34 a.m. July 27. Upon examination, doctors determined that the baby “had injuries to multiple organ systems” including, rib fractures, both new and healing, bilateral subdural hemorrhages, bruising and lacerations to his liver, and bruising on multiple areas of his body, according to the criminal complaint.
The child, who required life-saving interventions such as intubation/mechanical ventilation and critical care, was admitted to the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit and is still undergoing additional medical evaluation, court papers indicated.
A physician who evaluated Landon said the injuries to multiple organ systems are indicative of non-accidental trauma and that the medical findings were consistent with trauma occurring at more than one point in time, according to court documents.
During the investigation, detectives spoke with a Montgomery County Office of Children and Youth caseworker assigned to Landon and determined that social workers had become involved with the family on May 26 “after being notified of substance use and mental health concerns in regard to Daniel Rohloff,” according to the arrest affidavit.
“Rohloff was exhibiting strange and unusual behavior while (the child’s mother) was in the maternity ward giving birth to their child…His behavior required the hospital to summon the police and had Rohloff removed from the premises,” detectives alleged in the criminal complaint.
Between June 3 and June 15, Daniel Rohloff allegedly resisted the Office of Children and Youth’s attempts to implement a safety plan to protect Landon, according to court papers. Social workers also attempted multiple times to obtain a drug screen from Rohloff but were unsuccessful, detectives alleged.
Social workers made multiple attempts to limit Rohloff’s ability to have unsupervised contact with the baby but Rohloff allegedly “indicated he did not believe he needed to be supervised,” according to court documents.
On June 15, the Office of Children and Youth approved the paternal grandmother, Michelle Rohloff, as a safety plan resource to supervise Daniel Rohloff at the Jefferson Street home. The safety plan clearly stated Michelle was to “provide supervision at all times when father is present around Landon” and that Daniel was not permitted to sleep in the same room with Landon, according to the arrest affidavit.
“The safety plan also stated that she was to leave the home or call the police if Daniel was acting erratically or under the influence,” detectives alleged. “On the day she signed the safety plan, Michelle Rohloff was directly informed of her role and the conditions of the safety plan by the assigned OCY caseworker.”
Detectives alleged Michelle Rohloff also was present at two court hearings via Zoom during which the concerns involving Daniel Rohloff were discussed. During those hearings, a county judge ordered compliance with the safety plan and reiterated the specific conditions of the safety plan, according to court papers.
“Michelle Rohloff was the only approved caregiver living in the home and came up from Florida for the specific purpose of supervising her son while in contact with Landon in the home,” detectives alleged.
When detectives interviewed the child’s mother, she revealed that she and Daniel Rohloff had a “heated argument” about 10 p.m. July 26 during which Rohloff allegedly threw a beer bottle at her and broke other items in their bedroom.
The child’s mother left the residence to get away from Rohloff and drove to a local park and sat in her car until she received a text message around midnight from Daniel Rohloff stating the baby was having a seizure, according to the arrest affidavit. The child’s mother immediately returned home and found Landon swaddled and sleeping on a cushion in the living room and Rohloff seated on a couch and she told detectives Landon appeared to be sleeping and exhibiting no signs of a seizure, according to court papers.
Later on the morning of July 27, Daniel Rohloff, according to court papers, allegedly yelled through an intercom of a home security system because Landon was experiencing another seizure. The child’s mother went downstairs and found Rohloff alone with Landon and she described the baby as appearing “limp” and “pale in color,” and immediately recognized something was wrong and had Rohloff drive her to the Philadelphia hospital, according to the arrest affidavit.
During the investigation, detectives learned there were numerous surveillance cameras inside the residence.
A review of the video surveillance footage from inside the home showed that at 7:22 p.m. July 26, Daniel Rohloff entered a bedroom carrying Landon, who was quiet and content. Rohloff allegedly can be seen covering the camera with a towel, and then faint gurgling sounds made by Landon are audible until the baby “then begins intensely screaming,” according to the criminal complaint.
Landon can be heard alternating between periods of crying and silence before Rohloff uncovered the camera and departed the room holding Landon, detectives alleged.
At 10:17 p.m., Daniel Rohloff, carrying Landon, entered the bedroom again, closed the bedroom door and again covered the camera, detectives alleged.
“Within 11 seconds of the camera being covered, Landon begins intensely crying. Landon cries like this for 8 seconds and then goes silent,” detectives wrote in the arrest affidavit.
Six seconds later, Landon begins to intensely cry again until Rohloff exits the room and goes downstairs carrying the baby.
“The camera located in the first floor living room captures Rohloff walking down the stairs carrying Landon. Landon is making a loud, screeching, unusual sounding cry,” detectives alleged.
A further review of surveillance footage found that between the hours of 10:17 p.m. and 10:38 p.m., Daniel Rohloff and the baby’s mother can be heard arguing loudly and the baby’s mother yelling for Rohloff to give her the baby and repeatedly asking him to leave the residence before she threatens to call police, court papers indicate. The woman also threatened to obtain a protection from abuse order and during this time “objects can be heard being broken in the background,” detectives alleged.
When detectives interviewed Daniel Rohloff on July 27 he allegedly provided a timeline of events that “was sporadic and vague and as the interview progressed, detectives noted numerous inconsistencies and efforts by Rohloff to minimize events,” according to the arrest affidavit.
When Rohloff was asked why he covered the surveillance camera in the bedroom, he allegedly could not provide an explanation as to why the cloth was placed over the camera at that time, detectives said.