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Mercer, Pa., officials face shocking child abuse case; 2 held

MERCER, Pa. — Mercer County Coroner John Libonati said after doing the autopsy on a 14-year-old found dead in Delaware Township, it’s the worst case of abuse he’s seen in his 36 years as a coroner. The victim has been identified as Antonio Juan Gonzalez Jr.

Libonati said the teen died of hypovolemic shock — an emergency condition in which severe blood or fluid loss makes the heart unable to pump enough blood to the body. It happened as a result of blunt force trauma.

WKBN TV 27, The Tribune Chronicle’s news partner, reports Libonati said he saw significant signs of past and current physical abuse. He said the teen was significantly malnourished and “emaciated. … Like a concentration camp victim.”

The boy was found dead inside the mobile home where he lived with his father and 4-year-old sister. Antonio Juan Gonzalez Sr., 33, faces charges of criminal homicide, aggravated as-sault, endangering the welfare of children, concealing the death of a child, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person and tampering with evidence.

Gonzalez told police the boy hit his head on a cinderblock, according to a criminal complaint.

Paul Bacorn, 29, is facing charges of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal conspiracy. Gonzalez and Bacorn admitted to harshly punishing the boy, including hourslong timeouts and starvation, police said. Both suspects were arraigned Friday. Gonzalez is being held without bond, and Bacorn’s bond was set at $100,000.

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