5-year-old girl dies from child abuse

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Mom’s boyfriend charged in death

By Chris Sardelli

Hours after sheriff’s investigators said a 5-year-old girl died under suspicious circumstances, a Lancaster man was arrested in connection with her death.

Phillip Bryan Gleason, 27, 1791 Craig Farm Road, was arrested Tuesday, March 5 and charged with homicide by child abuse, according to a Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Lancaster County Sheriff Barry Faile identified the victim as Soren Victoria Chilson.

Gleason was the boyfriend of Chilson’s mother and lived in the home with them, said Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Matt Shaw. 

Faile called Soren’s death as senseless as any tragedy that he’s seen during his law enforcement career. 

“As a father it’s very upsetting to know someone could do this to an innocent child, much less to anybody else,” Faile said. 

“Whatever happens to him, it won’t be good enough as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

Shaw said Chilson was first found by paramedics following a 911 call. The press release said deputies responded at about 12:40 a.m. Tuesday to 1791 Craig Farm Road.

“After midnight last night we (the sheriff’s office) and EMS got a call about an apparent medical emergency involving a child,” Shaw said.

Medics found the girl unresponsive in a bathroom. She was taken to Springs Memorial Hospital for treatment, but later died, the release said.

Gleason was the only other person in the home when paramedics arrived, the release said.

“At the hospital, the doctors, nurses and us (deputies) observed things that led us to believe the death was suspicious in nature,” Shaw said.

The investigation so far shows that Chilson died from blunt force trauma to her head, the release said.

An autopsy was performed Tuesday morning, though Lancaster County Coroner Mike Morris still had no official cause of death by Tuesday afternoon.

“We are still waiting on a preliminary report, but it is not back yet,” Morris said. “We will get results by the end of the day and will be able to release more (Wednesday) morning.”

The investigation is ongoing and Gleason remains jailed at the Lancaster County Detention Center awaiting a bond hearing, the release said.


Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416