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‘Hard to Love’: Couple Accused of Homicide After Adopted 5-Year-Old Son Dies of Suspected Abuse That ‘Obliterated’ His Brain

pennsylvania case
Source: Delmont Police Department

Jul. 31 2023, Published 11:04 a.m. ET

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A Pennsylvania mother and her corrections officer husband recently were arrested in connection with the death of their 5-year-old adopted son police believe was abused and tortured.

Lauren Maloberti, 34, and Jacob Maloberti, 33, of Delmont, were each charged with criminal homicide for the death of Landon Maloberti, who died on Feb. 7, the Westmoreland County District Attorney’s Office announced.

“Landon had blunt force trauma to his head and neck, blunt force trauma to his torso, and blunt force trauma to his extremities,” District Attorney Nicole Ziccarelli said at a news conference.

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According to prosecutors, on Jan. 30, Landon lost consciousness and the parents brought him to UPMC Children’s Hospital, where he died around a week later.

Ziccarelli said the boy was covered in bruises and appeared to have suffered “severe child abuse.”

A criminal complaint obtained by WPXI-TV shows a doctor determined the child’s injuries were caused by “multiple episodes of physical abuse” and so traumatic that his brain was “obliterated.”


The complaint alleged the couple claimed their son was “wobbly” after recently suffering COVID and waited to get medical care for him.

The document, however, noted: “His injuries caused substantial pain at the time they were inflicted, with impairment of function including inability to stand, inability to eat or drink and loss of consciousness."

The complaint stated the alleged victim’s five siblings told investigators that their mother would punish Landon, often by hitting him with a wooden spoon, because“he does not learn his lesson.”

Former coworkers, the complaint showed, also claimed Lauren Maloberti “hated” the child and said he was “hard to love.”


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