Dad JUSTIN BENITEZ has been charged with aggravated assault after his 5-month-old daughter was hospitalized with a detached retina and brain damage. The baby is in critical condition. Seems Daddy was babysitting when he violently shook the baby.
Paterson shaken baby loses sight in one eye Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Last updated: Tuesday April 19, 2011, 6:33 PM
BY MARLENE NAANES
A 5-month-old Paterson infant suffering from shaken baby syndrome is blind in one eye, and it could be weeks before doctors know the full extent of her injuries.
A doctor told investigators that the girl is blind from a detached retina, Sgt. Bert Ribeiro said. The girl was in critical but stable condition at St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
Police arrested the girl’s father after doctors discovered on Thursday that she was suffering from the syndrome. The baby’s mother brought the infant girl into St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center about 1 a.m. Thursday after the baby was not as alert as she normally would be.
Police charged the father, whom they identified as Justin Benitez, 26, with two counts of aggravated assault.
Benitez, who lived with the baby, was under guard at a local hospital after saying he did not want to live and scratching up his wrists, Ribeiro said. It was unclear what he used to hurt himself.
The charges stem from an alleged assault on Thursday and another incident on March 21 when the baby was taken to St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center.
Investigators did not release details about the incidents but said the mother was not present when the alleged assault took place.
The Division of Youth and Family Services was notified of both incidents, but Paterson police were not called in March, Rodriguez said. It is unclear why.
DYFS did not comment, citing privacy laws.
Shaken baby syndrome is a serious brain injury that occurs when someone shakes an infant, usually to stop the baby from crying, according to the state Department of Children and Families.
Shaking a baby can cause bleeding on the brain, which can lead to death, brain damage and developmental delays.