UPDATE: Father charged in infant son's death

By Andy Jenks - bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A newborn is dead and the baby's teenage father is now accused of murder. Doctors tell Chesterfield Police it appears to be a case of shaken baby syndrome.

It was just before midnight last Tuesday on Clipper Bay Drive. Police were called to a house on the 4000 block for a baby who wasn't breathing. Following trips to two hospitals, the two-month-old boy eventually died several days later. On Monday, the baby's 17-year-old father was arrested and charged with murder.

"It's really insane to think of something like that happening in this neighborhood," said neighbor Rachel Stanley, who indicated the father was a recent graduate of Matoaca High School.

Police said the child appeared to be shaken to death, one of the leading causes of serious infant head injuries.

"The head goes back and forth, and the little vessels in the brain, bleed," said Dr. Linda Meloy, professor of pediatrics at VCU Medical Center.

Meloy said shaken baby syndrome is preventable if parents know when to walk away.

"If you feel anger inside you, put the baby in a safe place, walk away," Meloy said.

Linda Gagliardo volunteers at a church nursery. She and her husband were stunned to hear what happened just down the street.

"A lot of parents are afraid to let them cry, and sometimes they're frustrating because you can't stop them  from crying, because you don't know if they're hungry, or wet, or sometimes just fussy," Linda said.

The 17-year-old father's name was not released because of his age. He's currently in jail, and due to appear in juvenile court in August. The man who answered the door at his address declined to comment.

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