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Police: Mother beat child with bat over clogged toilet

Carbon County assault

MAHONING TWP., Pa. - A Carbon County mother is in jail for allegedly beating her child over a clogged toilet.

Mahoning Township police received a report from Lehighton Hospital about an assault on a juvenile on April 27.

The child's mother, Christine Mertz, hit the juvenile twice on the right side with a baseball bat and had also twice bitten and punched the juvenile, police said.

The incident was prompted by a clogged toilet, according to police.

The juvenile's sibling told police they'd witnessed the assault, and police saw bite marks on the juvenile.

Relatives tell 69 News the victim is a 15 year-old girl.

Neighbors are outraged over the accusations.

"Who does that? I mean that's just plain out ridiculous, it's crazy, how can a mother hurt her child like that? Biting? Come on, only dogs bite," said Samantha Steigerwalt.

"As a mother and a grandmother, I think that's disgusting. Who could do that to their child?" said neighbor Norma Steigerwalt.

"I'm appalled," said neighbor Kieran Kehlor. "Children are a gift."

Mertz was charged with endangering the welfare of children, simple assault and harassment.

She is currently in the Carbon County Prison on unrelated charges.

A preliminary hearing is set for May 21.

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