Md. coroner: Baby’s death ruled accidental after violent crime came too late

The coroner determined that 6-month-old Alexander J. Huguely Sr. was unlawfully killed by his father on May 25 at home in Rockville, Maryland. The baby’s death was first ruled a homicide because of blunt force trauma to the head. But this was later reduced to an accidental death after no finding of criminality was found. In case you didn’t know, Maryland is a “sanctity of life” state. That means a police report of a baby’s death can be deemed a homicide if there’s reason to believe the baby died as a result of severe, deliberate physical abuse. This is just another sad, tragic reminder of the scourge of child abuse and neglect.

What happened in this case: On May 25, at approximately 2:05 pm, Alexander Huguely Sr. called 911 to report a “disturbance” at the home. When officers arrived, Huguely (the child’s father) was yelling at the officers. When Alexander’s mother answered the door, Huguely and the mother began yelling at each other. Both of them were distraught, crying, and said they both had just lost a child. The mother told officers that she had given birth to a son six weeks earlier and that the baby was “healthy” and “well” but was very tired. She said the baby had vomited twice that day and was examined by the doctor, who found nothing wrong.

Officers found the baby lying on the bed in the middle of the hallway. In addition to a swollen, bloody head, the baby had bruising all over his body. He was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:43 pm.

Huguely’s account: On the way to the hospital, Huguely told officers he had been sleeping on the couch in his bedroom. During the night, he went to eat dinner with his sister. At some point in the evening, he became frustrated with his daughter and took her chair. After she cried in pain, he got up and placed her back in her chair. Huguely and his sister began playing with the baby on the couch. At some point, he sat down with the baby, without her permission, and proceeded to kiss the baby on the forehead. Huguely then told his sister to call his stepmother, which she did.

Huguely’s stepmother told police that her husband said something to the effect of “That’s mine, that’s mine.” While she was on the phone with his wife, she heard the baby’s mother screaming, asking for help and saying, “My baby’s choking on a toy.” When she got there, she said Huguely told her, “What can I do for you.” Huguely then got up and walked toward the baby. The stepmother told police she did not see how hard Huguely struck the baby or how hard the baby fell on the ground. She said Huguely then said something to the effect of, “I didn’t mean to” and grabbed the baby’s hoodie and swaddled him, indicating the baby was lying limp on the bed.

Huguely has been charged with first-degree murder, reckless endangerment and child abuse/neglect.

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