Allen County Judge sentenced Eugene R. Estrada Jr. to 14 years in prison for shaking his infant son. The child’s mother, Morgan Braun, will have a jury trial in November for her role in the abuse.
Estrada Jr. pleaded guilty to neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury as a result of an incident that occurred in December of 2016. Braun is charged with neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury, also.
According to a probable cause affidavit, the three month old boy was taken to the emergency room at 12:21 a.m. on Dec. 31, 2016. Estrada Jr. told hospital staff that he showered with the baby on Dec. 29 and they had fallen in the tub. Braun, however was quiet and did not say anything, according to court documents.
A doctor said the baby showed signs of shaken baby syndrome and the injuries were not consistent with falling in a shower, the report said. The baby was in critical condition and suffered from brain bleeding, fractured ribs and had multiple seizures while at the hospital, according to the probable cause affidavit.
During an interview with police, Estrada Jr. repeatedly told police that he was holding the baby “chest to chest” during the shower when the two reportedly fell. He said the baby cried for ten minutes, hard enough that his lip was quivering, the report said.
Estrada Jr. took the baby and ran to a neighbor’s house to call Braun who was on her way to work after the fall, according to court documents. He told police that he ran next door because his phone was out of minutes. Braun reportedly told him to “keep an eye” on the baby until she got home from work.
Estrada Jr. said he held the baby until Braun came home, according to a probable cause affidavit. He said the baby reportedly had a “blank stare,” he was drooling a lot, and his appetite was not normal.
Investigators learned Braun took the baby to see a doctor for his three month check up a day after the incident, however did not tell the doctor about the fall in the shower.
Police interviewed another child who lived at the residence. The child was not at the home when the incident occurred but told police that he heard Estrada Jr. and Braun arguing about the baby being hurt from falling in the shower. He told police the baby “sometimes cries a lot” but he doesn’t remember Estrada or Braun getting mad about it, court documents revealed.
According to the affidavit, a detective asked Estrada if he has issues with anger. Estrada Jr. said sometimes he does not know how to vent or express himself to other people, according to court documents. He said he “breaks down and cries” or “sits there angry and won’t talk to anyone.”
The detective asked Estrada if there are any other incidents that may have caused the baby’s injuries. Estrada reportedly said “no, not at all.” He went on to say “I’ve never shook my child, I’ve never dropped him, I’ve never done anything purposely to hurt him, ever, not once.”
A doctor said there was a high possibility that the parents delay in medical treatment could have resulted in the child’s death. The doctor described the baby’s brain injury as life threatening and consistent with abusive head trauma and inflicted injury. As a result, the baby may have lifelong developmental delays in speech, motor, and cognitive abilities. He could also require long-term anti-seizure medications.
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Scott Juceam is one of the leading advocates against Shaken Baby Syndrome. Scott’s life changed when his daughter Hannah was shaken to death by her nanny in 2006. Since then, Scott has dedicated his life to preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome and child abuse.