Obstruction charges filed in child abuse case in Altoona

Local News

ALTOONA, Pa. (WTAJ) — An Altoona man faces felony charges after police say he tried to thwart an investigation into the abuse of two children. 

Donnie Lee Locklear Jr., 31, is accused of hiding a 1-year-old boy when Altoona police and a Blair County Children, Youth & Families caseworker showed up to check on two small children and their mother on Thursday, according to the charges filed before Magisterial District Judge Daniel DeAntonio. 

Locklear claimed the 1-year-old was with a relative and when officers saw the 3-year-oid girl had two black eyes – which was what prompted the initial report to BCCYF after the mother took the girl to a doctor and told a friend she thought Locklear had struck the child, according to police. 

After finding the 1-year-old was not with and had not been with the relative as Locklear claimed, the county caseworker contacted police. When officers returned Thursday, they took Locklear into custody on the grounds he had hid the baby from the caseworker and officers earlier. Police noted Locklear had also called the caseworker and told him he could come back because the relative had just returned with the baby. 

Police pointed out the 1-year-old had multiple bruises on his face so the two children and their mother were taken to UPMC Altoona for evaluation. 

The mother told an Altoona police detective that Locklear had forced her to stay in her room for the past month and she was only allowed to go to the bathroom, but not downstairs. She was allowed to keep her doctor appointments, but she had to go and immediately return home. He also kept the kids away from her and he would bring her food but not allow the kids to see her, police noted in the charges. 

The mother told police Locklear threatened to kill her if she ever left him and would always take one of the children with him when he went anywhere because he knew she wouldn’t leave without both the kids, police allege. 

During one fight, he allegedly threatened her with a hammer. Recently, while he was screaming at the 3-year-old, the mother got between Locklear and the girl and Locklear hit the child’s face, giving her a bloody lip.  

The mother of the children told the detective when the officers left after their first visit Thursday, Locklear gave her make-up concealer and told her to cover up the 1-year-old’s marks. Police said officers noticed the child had concealer on his face when they returned Thursday.  

When questioned Thursday night by Altoona police Detective Sgt. Nathan Snyder and Detective Sgt. Terry Merritts, Locklear allegedly admitted to hiding the 1-year-old from police when they first arrived with the caseworker, claiming he didn’t want them to wake and scare the sleeping child.  

Locklear claimed the 3-year-old got her two black eyes after she slipped on apple juice and hit her face off a door or the floor. Locklear blamed the 1-year-old for his bruises and claimed the child smashes his face off things when he’s angry. He also blamed the 3-year-old and told police he’s seen the little girl “popping” the boy in the face multiple times, police wrote in the charges. 

Locklear is charged with felony counts of intimidation, retaliation or obstruction in child abuse cases, obstruction and endangering the welfare of a child by interfering with making a report, as well as misdemeanor counts of simple assault, terroristic threats, false imprisonment and tampering with evidence. 

Locklear was arraigned Friday morning by Judge DeAntonio and released on an unsecured $75,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is slated for Nov. 4. 

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