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Family’s Landlord Worried About Children’s Welfare

OLYPHANT — A ten-month-old child abuse victim from Lackawanna County is still in critical condition.

We now know the man accused of injuring the child is not the father.

Police in Olyphant arrested Eddie Widdick of Jermyn Wednesday night for allegedly injuring that 10-month-old boy. He’s facing assault charges.

Widdick told police that he waited several minutes to call 911 when his girlfriend’s son stopped breathing because he was afraid he’d get in trouble.

A look at Widdick’s Facebook page showed Widdick often spent time with 10-month-old, Silas, and his twin sister Charlize, along with girlfriend Ashley Nelson’s three other young children. Widdick told police he was angry when he squeezed baby Silas and hit his head against a crib.

A day after the arrest, Nelson’s landlord and a code enforcement officer from Olyphant went through the home he rents to Nelson and her children.

“Last Friday I was holding the baby, and now he’s in the situation, you know? I feel responsible, but that’s all I could do, you know?” said Kevin Cavanaugh, the landlord.

The landlord said he never saw any signs of abuse on any of Nelson’s children, but he said he and at least one neighbor on Delaware Avenue called Lackawanna County Children and Youth Services because of the condition of the house, and the children didn’t look clean.

“As time went on over the last three or four weeks I became more concerned with the children’s welfare because I kept seeing dirty, dirty diapers, children crying upset all the time. When I went in there those kids ran right to me, and they didn’t even know me,” said Cavanaugh.

When baby Silas stopped breathing Wednesday morning and Widdick called police, Nelson’s four other children and two more children were taken out of the home. Police said they saw bruises on at least some of those children.

Neighbors said Nelson and Widdick kept to themselves, so they never sensed something was wrong.

We spoke with an official with Lackawanna County Children and Youth Services who said he couldn’t talk specifically about the children in this case.

However, he said if complaints were made, a case worker would have visited Nelson’s home in Olyphant.



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