Couple to be charged with murder for newborn's death

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Couple to be charged with murder for newborn's death

In the latest case of fatal child abuse to hit the headlines, the parents of a dead two-week-old boy will be charged with murder, North Jeolla police announced Wednesday.
 
Although police originally investigated the parents for suspected child abuse, they decided to recommend murder charges against the 24-year-old man and 22-year-old woman after considering evidence of willful negligence on the part of the couple – without which the baby might have survived.
 
The couple will also be charged with committing abusive violence and grave injury to their child.
 
Close to midnight on Feb. 9, the parents called emergency services, saying that the child fell from his bed while sleeping. They changed their story under questioning, admitting that the father threw the child onto the bed and hit him several times after he vomited his formula.
 
They were taken into police custody on Feb. 10 after bruises were observed on the infant's face. The results of a first autopsy revealed that the cause of death was a brain hemorrhage as a result of damage to the cranial bone.
 
On the basis of that evidence, police applied for an arrest warrant and the pair was formally placed under arrest on Feb. 12.
 
"We decided to recommend murder charges because the investigation concluded that had the infant been taken to hospital and received treatment soon after he showed unusual signs, he would have lived," said Park Song-hee, chief of the women's and adolescents' department of the North Jeolla Police Agency.
 
According to police, mobile data records from 3 p.m. on Feb. 9 – nine hours before the emergency call was placed – show the baby's parents were searching online for ways of removing bruises and previous cases of children who died in the care of relatives.
 
Police said this demonstrates willful negligence on the part of the parents.
 
Police also noted that at the time of death, the baby was underweight, weighing 2.94 kilograms (6.5 pounds). Two weeks after birth, babies normally weigh approximately 3.5 kilograms (7.7 pounds).
 
The father was previously charged with abusing their elder child, a one-year-old daughter, who is now in a state care center. The father was acquitted for lack of evidence.
 
 
BY KIM JUN-HEE, MICHAEL LEE   [lee.junhyuk@joongang.co.kr]
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