Mother arrested for toddler’s murder after shifting stories fail to convince investigators

A mother’s inconsistent statements have led to her arrest in connection with the death of her 17-month-old son. Tracie Renee Puskac, 36, is currently facing charges of second-degree murder after her toddler, Jermiyah Puskac, passed away from various injuries, including a skull fracture. Despite her attempts to convince investigators of her innocence, her changing narratives have raised suspicions. The tragic incident occurred in Summerfield, Florida, and Puskac is currently being held at the Marion County Jail.

On April 27, authorities responded to a distress call at a residence on SE 42nd Avenue. They found Jermiyah unresponsive and immediately rushed him to AdventHealth Belleview. Medical staff discovered signs of physical abuse, including bruises all over his body and retinal hemorrhages. Tragically, Jermiyah succumbed to his injuries on April 29. An autopsy later confirmed that his death was a homicide caused by complications from a skull fracture, subdural hemorrhage, and traumatic brain and spinal cord injury.

Throughout the investigation, Tracie Renee Puskac provided conflicting accounts of how her son sustained his injuries. Initially, she claimed that Jermiyah had a “fit” and banged his head against the tile floor. Puskac mentioned that her son had autism and frequently engaged in head-banging behavior. However, she later changed her story, stating that he had fallen and struck his head in the bathtub. In an attempt to shift suspicion, Puskac implicated her 4-year-old daughter, alleging that she had struck Jermiyah with a toy giraffe.

Authorities found Puskac’s shifting narratives suspicious, especially when she asked if her statements could remain confidential to protect her daughter. She also expressed fear of an open investigation by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). During the death investigation, Puskac resisted signing a safety plan and made concerning statements about having another baby. These statements raised further red flags for investigators.

Following the autopsy results, deputies went to Puskac’s home to apprehend her. Initially, her mother claimed she was not present, but later, Puskac’s vehicle was found in the driveway. When law enforcement officers knocked on the front door, they heard the sound of the door locking from the inside. Puskac is currently being held without bond, and her court appearance is scheduled for August 15th. The Marion County Sheriff’s Office has stated that there are no plans to charge Puskac’s mother at this time.