Hearing delayed for woman accused of endangerment for toddler with burns

By Ed Lewis - [email protected]
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WILKES-BARRE — A preliminary hearing was continued Tuesday for a woman charged with endangering a 19-month-old girl who suffered burns from what she claims was a hand dryer.

But authorities have their doubts about her story.

Pittston police earlier this month charged Taylor Rodden, 22, of Riverview Manor, with endangering the welfare of children, alleging she waited a day until she sought medical attention for the toddler.

Police said the girl sustained second-degree burns between three fingers and on her forehead and right eye socket.

They believe the toddler was burned in June 2017.

According to a criminal complaint:

Police questioned Rodden about how the toddler was burned.

Rodden told police during an interview June 20 that she visited her father near Harrisburg. She claimed the toddler was burned when she went into a restroom at a service station and used the hand dryer after washing her hands. She said she hit the button on the dryer a third time to distract the toddler as she gathered items from a diaper bag.

Rodden said she then noticed the toddler’s hand was stuck in the dryer, and the toddler struck her head off the dryer.

Rodden waited a day to take the girl to an urgent care center and then to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center in Plains Township.

Police questioned Rodden’s brother, James Rodden, and her boyfriend, Brandon Vaow.

James Rodden claimed they stopped at a service station while visiting his father and Taylor Rodden took the toddler inside the business. When they returned to their vehicle, he claimed he saw the toddler with injuries to her face and hands and she was crying.

Vaow told investigators the toddler got candy stuck in her hair and Taylor Rodden took her into the women’s restroom. Taylor noticed the women’s restroom didn’t have hand dryers and asked him to take the toddler into the men’s restroom.

Vaow claimed he held the toddler to the hand dryer while he looked at Facebook or played a game on his cell phone for several minutes.

Police spoke again to Taylor Rodden, asking her why she provided false information during her first interview. Police allege she became sarcastic in the second interview June 29.

Police said security at the service station provided temperature readings of the hand dryer.

At the mouth of the vent, the temperature can reach 115 to 120 degrees, and at 6 inches away, the temperature was 80 to 90 degrees. The hand dryer automatically shuts off with hands farther than 6 inches away because it is motion activated.

Police said a physician at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville believes the injuries would not be consistent with the hand dryer temperatures.

Rodden remains free on $15,000 unsecured bail. Her preliminary hearing was rescheduled to May 8.

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By Ed Lewis

[email protected]