By Rebecca Henely
A 2-month-old baby has been on life support since her father allegedly shook her twice within the span of a month, causing severe injuries throughout her body, the Queens district attorney’s office said.
Israel Garcia, 27, of 41st Avenue near 95th Street in Elmhurst, was arraigned on charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child in Queens Criminal Court May 30, the DA said. Since the baby, Maria Gordillo, is so severely injured, Garcia’s charges would be increased if she dies, the DA said.
Garcia’s first alleged incident of harm to his baby occurred early in May after he had come home in a tired and frustrated state, the DA said. Garcia heard Maria crying and then allegedly grabbed her, squeezed her around her torso and then moved her repeatedly up and down, the DA said. He allegedly told the authorities that he thought he broke Maria’s ribs but did not inform anyone, the DA said.
The baby required serious medical attention after May 28, the DA said. Garcia had been alone with Maria and, after waking up from a nap, she started to cry, the DA said. Garcia allegedly grabbed her and shook her for three minutes until she was quiet and seemed to go back to sleep, the DA said. When Maria would not wake up again, Garcia called 911, the DA said.
Maria was taken to Elmhurst Center Hospital that same day, and later to New York University Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, the DA said. Maria’s injuries included bleeding on the brain in multiple places, retinal hemorrhages in her left eye, brain injuries from trauma and oxygen deprivation, many old rib fractures and bruises on her left foot and back.
These injuries are consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome and could result in her death, the DA said.
Garcia, who has been held without bail, faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted, the DA said. His next court date is June 11, the DA said.
District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement that his office has been seeing too many cases of Shaken Baby Syndrome despite health providers and law enforcement agencies making greater efforts to educate new parents.
“We are still seeing far too many cases of children dying or being permanently disabled, both mentally and physically, at the hands of their caregivers. Under no circumstances should a baby be shaken,” Brown said. “Three seconds of shaking is all it takes to cause irreparable injury or even death.”
Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4564.