Monday, August 9, 2010

Dad wanted over assault on 7-week-old son, crack possession (London, Ontario, Canada)

Dad ROURKE DESMANCHE is wanted by police for crack possession and for assaulting his 7-week-old son, leaving him with life-threatening injuries. Notice that a 3-year-old in the home was also assaulted.

Gang dad wanted over crack, baby assault

Last Updated: August 7, 2010 5:52am

LONDON, Ont. - London police are hunting for the "dangerous" father of a seven-week-old boy found in the family home not breathing and rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Police have issued warrants for the arrest of Rourke Desmanche, 21, for one count of possession of crack cocaine and two counts of assault, relating to the infant and a three-year-old at the home.

"This is a very tragic case, especially when it is such a young infant involved," said Det.-Insp. Brad Carrothers.

"We have no idea where he is," Carrothers said. "Hopefully, someone will call with some information."

But police warned members of the public not to approach Desmanche. "Desmanche is considered dangerous and members of the general public have no authority to detain him," said Const. Pete Testa.

Officers from the force's major- crimes unit, the sexual-assault and abuse unit are working with the Children's Aid Society of London and Middlesex and medical officials "to determine the extent and cause of the injuries," said Carrothers. Police and paramedics were called to a home on Barberry Ct., just west of Pond Mills Rd., shortly before midnight Monday after getting a call that a baby boy wasn't breathing. It's unclear who made the 911 call, but police said the mother was at the residence at the time.

Police got a warrant to search the home, and concluded the infant had been assaulted sometime earlier, as had the three-year-old.

Police said they also found 1.2 grams of crack cocaine.

The earlier assaults are unrelated to the investigation into the "serious, life-threatening" injuries that sent the infant to hospital, police said.

Neighbours in the Barberry Ct. townhouse complex said Desmanche lived with a woman in one unit, with the infant and two other children.

Neighbours said the CAS had taken two other children from the home sometime after Monday night.

A daycare centre the two children attend confirmed they were under CAS custody.

Under privacy laws, the CAS won't confirm the identity of children in its care.

Desmanche often walked through the neighbourhood wearing a red bandana, signifying membership in the Bloods gang, and talking openly on a cell phone about drug deals, said one neighbour.

But neighbours also said both Desmanche and the woman appeared to take good care of the children, who seemed happy and loved.

"I never saw them do anything bad with the children," said one neighbour.

Given Desmanche's image and self-professed gang membership, no one in the complex wanted their name published.

"Both of them seemed pretty good around the children," said one neighbour.

Although she had no use for Desmanche, "I was really surprised to hear this," one neighbour said.

Another said she heard nothing out of the ordinary in the townhouse unit Monday night.

"They seemed like a regular family," she said.

Maureen Reid, a program manager for the CAS and chair of the child abuse prevention council of London, said there are several factors that can lead to abuse of children, especially infants.

"Sometimes, the person may have their own history of being abused," said Reid.

"Other times, they may have a problem with impulse control where they can lose control or go into a rage, or act on any impulse."

Other causes include a lack of understanding of a child's development.

"They will assign negative motives, or adult motives, for the behavior of the child that are beyond the age or state of the child's development," said Reid.

"So, if they think the child is crying just to be difficult, the rage starts to build up when, in fact, a two-month-old child may be crying for no apparent reason, although some research suggests it could simply be to clear their lungs."

Drug abuse can also be a factor, causing the adult to lose a sense of reality and become more aggressive "or so passive they neglect the baby."

A lack of supports (such as family) and financial resources can also add stress leading to rage, said Reid.

"And then there are the people who are just sadistic," she said.

Police released a photo of Desmanche and urged anyone with information to contact them at 519-661-5670, Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222.TIPS or go online at