Friday, March 16, 2012

Dad charged with 2nd-degree manslaughter in death of 12-week-old son (Wantage, New Jersey)

Dad is identified as WILLIAM GEBHARD.

Wantage dad held in death of infant
Posted: Mar 16, 2012 12:16 AM CDT
Updated: Mar 16, 2012 12:27 AM CDT

William Gebhard, 21, of Wantage, is being charged with second degree manslaughter in connection with the death of his 12-week-old son, who died Wednesday, authorities said.

Gebhard is expected to make his first court appearance today in state Superior Court in Newton.

According to State Police, troopers were called on March 6 to St. Clare's Hospital in Sussex Borough, where doctors were providing emergency treatment to the infant, William C. Gebhard IV.

The infant was placed on life support and doctors determined the injuries were consistent with Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Troopers arrested the infant's father, Gebhard, at the hospital around midnight March 6 and charged him with endangerment of a child's welfare.

Gebhard was taken to the Sussex County Jail, where he is being held on a $50,000 bail with no cash option.

The infant died Wednesday at Morristown Medical Center.

According to Sussex County First Assistant Prosecutor Gregory Mueller, Gebhard is charged with an additional charge of second degree manslaughter in connection with the death.

The manslaughter charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in state prison.

Mueller said the Sussex County Prosecutor's Office and the State Police are investigating the incident.

Funeral services for William C. Gebhard IV will be held at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Smith-McCracken Funeral Home in Newton. Interment will be in Clove Cemetery.

Visitation will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the funeral home.

According to an obituary appearing in today's newspaper, memorial donations may be made to Morristown Medical Center, Pediatric Unit, 100 Madison Avenue, Morristown, N.J. 07960, or The Shaken Baby Alliance, 8551 Boat Club Road, Suite 117, Fort Worth, Texas 76179.

The National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome describes the syndrome as a triad of medical symptoms: subdural hematoma, retinal hemorrhage, and brain swelling, from which doctors, consistent with current medical understanding, infer child abuse caused by intentional shaking. In a majority of cases there is no visible sign of external trauma.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is often fatal and can cause severe brain damage, resulting in lifelong disability, in more moderate incidents.