Berks County couple charged with homicide in death of 6-month-old

BERKS COUNTY — A Berks County couple has been charged with homicide in relation to the death of their 6-month-old daughter.

On March 20, police found the deceased infant in a plastic container filled with cat litter in a crawlspace of the West Lawn home of 25-year-old Shaun Oxenreider and 27-year-old Samantha Trump, according to a Berks County District Attorney’s Office release. The couple was charged with abuse of a corpse, concealing the whereabouts of a child and criminal conspiracy.

Two days later, an autopsy was performed on the toddler by Dr. Neil Hoffman, a forensic pathologist at Tower Health in Reading.

“During the course of the autopsy, Dr. Hoffman determined that the child suffered blunt force trauma to her head, and suffered multiple rib fractures, which were found in multiple stages of healing,” the release states.

The release adds that the girl’s death was blunt force trauma to the head and homicidal violence.

Now, both Trump and Oxenreider are charged with homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, concealing the death of a child and abuse of corpse, and conspiracy.

Spring Township Police began the investigation when two relatives of Oxenreider contacted them, reporting that they had heard about the death of the baby, according to the criminal complaint. Berks County Children and Youth Services then followed up with the report.

The caseworker spoke to Oxenreider and Trump on the phone, then relayed to police that their statements were suspicious. The caseworker also said she could find no record of the baby’s name with either Oxenreider or Trump as a last name at any Berks-area hospital, or at the funeral home where the couple said they had the baby’s remains cremated, the criminal complaint said.

When asked to provide a death certificate for the child, Trump told the caseworker that she and Oxenreider were in New Jersey visiting a relative, and would not be back until after Easter, the criminal complaint added.

Police were called to the couple’s home to investigate on March 19 after a relative drove by and saw Oxenreider’s vehicle parked outside. That’s when the 6-month old’s body was discovered.

Oxenreider and Trump remain in Berks County Jail System.