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A Hammond mother was charged Thursday in the beating death of her infant daughter, who was born cocaine positive in July, according to court records filed Thursday. 

Lisa M. Rodriguez is charged in Lake Criminal Court of murder, neglect of a dependent resulting in death and battery on a person less than 14 years old.

Rodriguez, 27, brought her infant daughter, Brooklynn Rodriguez, to Franciscan Health in Hammond about 11:45 a.m. Tuesday, according to court records.

The girl was lifeless, pale and cold, records state. She had bruises on her chin, collar bone, upper and lower back and swelling on the right side of her head. Brooklynn was pronounced dead about 12:30 p.m.

A forensic pathologist at the Lake County coroner's office told authorities Brooklynn had both old and new bruises to the torso area. The child had several hematomas to the head and a quarter-sized fracture to her skull. He ruled the death homicide by blunt force trauma to the head, records state.

Rodriguez provided nurses inconsistent statements about her daughter's death, records state. She initially claimed Brooklynn was with her older daughter, but then claimed she was with a friend.

Halie Gonlag, an Indiana Department of Child Services family case manager, told detectives Brooklyn had an open case. She said the Lake County Juvenile Court granted “a pickup order” for the girl Oct. 25 due to Brooklyn being cocaine positive at birth, records state. Gonlag said they had been unable to locate Rodriguez or her daughter.

Juvenile Court Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. said Thursday a pickup order granted child services the authority to take custody of a child.

Rodriguez told detectives in a statement she and her boyfriend lived at her boyfriend's grandfather's house in the 4900 block of Hickory Avenue.

She said her boyfriend left for work 7:30 a.m. Tuesday. She claimed she left the residence two hours later with Brooklynn and dropped her off at her friend's house in the 900 block of Murray Street, records state.

She said she went grocery shopping and, when she returned, could not initially get a response at the door. She said eventually another resident let her into the home, and she found her friend doing CPR on the child.

She said she then rushed the girl to the hospital, according to records.

Police had visited the friend's house before interviewing Rodriguez, records state. They learned from a resident at the house Rodriguez's friend had been in the hospital for almost two weeks.

Confronted with the discrepancy in her story, Rodriguez allegedly claimed it was a different friend who watched her child. She then requested an attorney.

The boyfriend's grandfather told authorities Rodriguez was with the child all morning Tuesday. He said he heard Rodriguez yell, “Shut up!” at the child in the morning, then did not hear anything until 11:30 a.m., when Rodriguez left the house with Brooklynn, records state.

He provided police with surveillance footage from his house that corroborated his statements.

Rodriguez is held without bond at Lake County Jail, police said.


Northlake County Reporter

Lauren covers North Lake County government, breaking news, crime and environmental issues for The Times. She previously worked at The Herald-News in Joliet. She holds a master’s degree in Public Affairs Reporting.