Paramedics Find Baby in Refrigerator during Suicide Call

Man became violent and yelled that he had killed his child.


 
 

LINDSAY WISE, The Houstion Chronicle | | Friday, May 4, 2012


Evette Williams rarely saw her neighbor without his infant son tucked in the crook of his arm, a doting dad who proudly paraded his little boy around the courtyard of their southwest Houston apartment complex.

"He was good with his baby," Williams said. "He would bring the baby out and talk and play. ... He was a good neighbor, happy man, happy father."

Father and son were such fixtures at the University Apartments in the 7100 block of Beechnut that Williams started to worry when she didn't see the child for a few days.

On Wednesday, she learned the reason. Authorities found the 6-month-old boy dead in his father's refrigerator, wrapped in a blanket.

"It's just devastating to me," said Williams, a mother and grandmother.

The 57-year-old man, whose name has not been released, called 911 at 7:40 a.m. to report that he was suicidal. Authorities rushed to the scene, only to find the man's door locked. No one answered when they knocked.

Neighbors told firefighters that a baby lived in the apartment. Fearing for the child's safety, firefighters forced their way inside and found the father collapsed on the floor, said Sgt. Ora Chandler, an investigator with the Houston Police Department's homicide division.

At first he appeared unresponsive, Chandler said, but as paramedics started to work on him, the man became violent and yelled that he had killed his child. He was then handcuffed and transported to Ben Taub General Hospital, where he was treated for self-inflicted injuries. He remained there under guard late Wednesday but had not been charged.

The baby's cause of death has yet to be determined. Chandler said she did not see any obvious signs of trauma on the child's body, which likely had been in the refrigerator since at least Tuesday night.

Emptied refrigerator

"It appears (the father) took everything out and dumped everything in a trash can" before placing the baby inside, she said.

The father is a veteran with a criminal history, Chandler said. He does not have a job.

About a month ago, he and the baby's mother separated, Chandler said. The mother, who is in her 20s, told police the couple had a volatile relationship and that the father had a history of substance abuse and domestic violence. She said she didn't have the resources to take the baby with her when she left, so she entrusted him to the father's care.

"He had told her he had stopped using and he had gotten his life together," Chandler said.

The mother moved to Clear Lake to care for a sick relative, Chandler said. She called the father on Sunday to tell him she planned to bring him money for the baby's diapers on Wednesday. She also wanted to talk about taking their son to live with her. "He told her that was fine," Chandler said.

Mother 'in shock'

The mother was driving to the father's apartment with the money Wednesday morning when police called her.

"As a mom, she's in shock," Chandler said. "This is obviously something she never expected."

Police don't know why the father might have harmed the baby or whether he was in his right mind when the child died, she said.

"This is absolutely a beautiful baby," Chandler said. "This is one of those cases that really kind of tugs at your heart."

 



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