Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Dad, girlfriend charged in death of 3-year-old son during dad's out-of-state visitation (Tampa, Florida)

The custody situation is not terribly clear here, but it seems the 3-year-old boy died while visiting dad JUSTIN GARWACKI and his girlfriend in Florida for the past month. Mom lives in Missouri, and had divorced Daddy after just one year of marriage. With a marriage that brief, one has to suspect that abuse came into play.

So whose idea was it to send a preschooer halfway across the country to visit Daddy for a month? Or perhaps it was supposed to be for the whole summer? A judge's? Wonder if the judge would care to identify himself or herself now that this baby has died from "extreme trauma."

Tampa man, girlfriend charged with abuse in death of 3-year-old
By Jessica Vander Velde, Times Staff Writer
Posted: Aug 11, 2010 03:11 PM

TAMPA — A Tampa man and his girlfriend face charges in connection with the death of the man's 3-year-old son.

When paramedics arrived at Justin Garwacki's home Tuesday night after getting a 911 call about an unresponsive child, they found 3-year-old John Taylor Baxley not breathing. He had apparently suffered extreme trauma to his body, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

The boy was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's hospital. An autopsy is pending.

Garwacki, 26, and his girlfriend, Kara O'Connell, 29, were arrested Wednesday on charges of aggravated child abuse, child abuse, neglect of a child and failure to report neglect of a child, said sheriff's spokesman Larry McKinnon.

The investigation is ongoing, and deputies anticipate additional charges, he said.

Dispatchers got a call about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday that a child was not breathing at Garwacki's home in the 14000 block of Lemon Valley Place, near Westfield Citrus Park mall, the Sheriff's Office said.

When paramedics arrived, they found the 3-year-old had suffered trauma to his body. Detectives believe that during the past month, while Baxley was living with his father and his father's girlfriend, he suffered repeated abuse.

The child's mother, Crystal Lee Ann Baxley, 25, lives in Missouri. She was contacted Wednesday with news of her child's death, and detectives plan to interview her, McKinnon said.

Records show that Baxley married Garwacki in Brandon in 2006, and the two were divorced in Missouri in 2007.

News researcher John Martin contributed to this report.