BY TOM DALTON
---- — SALEM — When a Salem couple picked up their 2-year-old daughter two weeks ago at a home on Read Street, where she had been staying with a friend, they were shocked by what they saw.
They immediately took the little girl to North Shore Children’s Hospital, where she was admitted that March 12 evening with serious bodily injuries.
Hospital staff notified Salem police and the Department of Children and Family Services, triggering a lengthy investigation headed by Detective Charlene Sano that culminated yesterday with the arrest of a Salem man on an attempted murder charge.
Salem detectives picked up Juan Javier Claudio, 28, of 10 Dow St., on a warrant around noon yesterday as he stepped off a trial court community service bus at the state courthouse on Federal Street. The arrest was made without incident, police said.
On Thursday, an Essex County grand jury had returned a secret indictment charging Claudio with one count of attempted murder, one count of aggravated assault and battery and two counts of assault and battery on a child resulting in serious bodily injury.
Claudio was booked at the Salem Police Station and later arraigned in Superior Court.
He is being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing on Thursday.
The little girl has been released from the hospital and is staying with her paternal grandparents under state supervision, according to police.
When the toddler was injured, she had been staying with a family friend. According to police, the friend was Claudio’s ex-girlfriend.
Claudio is not a relative, police said, but was a “caretaker of the child at the time of the incident.”
The child’s family cooperated with the investigation, police said.
Sano was assisted by Detectives Dan Tucker, Eric Connolly and Brian St. Pierre; and Domestic Violence Officer Kathleen Rocheville.
Officer Jonathan Duzz and Sgt. David Tucker responded to the scene on March 12. Officers William Jennings and John Anderson assisted with the investigation.
The investigation involved interviews of family members, caretakers and medical professionals at North Shore Children’s Hospital.
Salem police also worked closely with Essex County Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.