Authorities arrested a Rhode Island father for allegedly shaking his 3-month-old baby boy to death.
Elias Romero, 24, reportedly abused his child, Giovanni Pena-Romero, by shaking him on July 7, WPRI said.
Staff at Hasbro Children’s Hospital identified the child's head injuries as abuse-inflicted, consistent with those caused by “shaken baby syndrome.”
The baby was considered brain damaged by that point, according to the family’s GoFundMe page, which was set up to pay for the child’s funeral expenses.
Police were called and they charged Elias with first-degree child abuse, but that was before tragedy struck.
“Hours later [Giovanni] showed signs of trying to breathe on his own but then gave up,” family members recall. “Unfortunately, the doctors told us that there's nothing else they can do.”
When baby Giovanni died two days later, Elias was charged with murder.
“This is a tragic incident that weighs heavily on the hearts of not only the child’s family, but also the entire Cranston Police Department,” Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist said. “I commend the detectives who handled this case, which was difficult on so many fronts. They are parents of young children themselves and maintained their professionalism, composure and empathy throughout the course of the investigation.”
Elias is now in prison while his devastated family attempts to raise funds for the baby’s funeral expenses.
“Please help us have one less thing to worry about during this time of need,” the GoFundMe page reads. “Please come together and show your love. We are getting help for the funeral already but still need to raise to help for the grave plot and minor expenses. Help us make this possible. Any donation is highly appreciated. Thank you for all of the support and your continued prayers.”
While the incident is still being investigated, police hope other frustrated parents caring for crying children learn from this.
“Put the child in a safe location and walk away,” Capt. Guilbeault said. “Take a deep breath or call somebody to come assist. This tragic event was completely preventable, and if he had just reached out for help sooner, the child most likely would still be alive today.”