Woman in East Lyme arrested for slapping, choking and smothering child

Mother accused of abusing baby
Published: Jun. 7, 2022 at 10:35 AM EDT|Updated: Jun. 7, 2022 at 12:20 PM EDT
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EAST LYME, CT (WFSB) - A woman was arrested following an investigation into child abuse in East Lyme.

East Lyme police charged Katie Ann Nichols, 36, with negligent cruelty to persons, risk of injury to a child, and second-degree reckless endangerment.

Katie Ann Nichols.
Katie Ann Nichols.(East Lyme police)

They said the case involved Nichols’ own son, who was 16 months old at the time.

Police said they arrested Nichols on Tuesday around 7 a.m. on the strength of an arrest warrant.

According to that warrant, Nichols’ therapist informed authorities about what had been happening. The therapist was told by Nichols that Nichols had slapped the child’s belly, as well as shook, strangled and smothered the child.

When investigators went to her home in Feb. 2022, she admitted to them that she had a history of yelling, hitting, violently shaking and smothering her son with a pillow.

She also admitted to committing the abuse on more than one occasion, and that she struggled with mental health.

Police said the victim’s father knew about the abuse but “did not have the courage to say anything.”

However, the father did describe, during an interview with investigators, an instance where Nichols choked the child. He said he took the child from her and slapped her across the face.

The investigation also revealed that police had been called to Nichols’ home four times between Oct. 2021 and Jan. 2022. The calls involved a verbal dispute between Nichols and the father. One of those included the arrest of the father.

The victim told an investigator that she suffered from a disorder called “intermittent explosive disorder.” She said that was the reason she committing the abuse.

Intermittent explosive disorder involves repeated, sudden episodes of impulsive, aggressive, violent behavior or angry verbal outbursts in which you react grossly out of proportion to the situation, according to The Mayor Clinic.

Nichols told investigators that the abuse could happen again.

The victim was removed from the home in March 2022.

An evaluation by Yale New Haven Hospital and Lawrence and Memorial Hospital found no overt signs of trauma and no signs of healing wounds, the warrant stated.

Police said Nichols’ was the culmination of an investigation by the department’s patrol and detective divisions, and the Department of Children and Families.

Nichols was processed and presented at New London court for an arraignment.