Monday, December 19, 2011

4-month-old baby abused by "home alone" dad not likely to survive (Canton, Michigan)

Dad ANTHONY LAWRENCE SEWEJKIS admits that he "messed up bad" by "pushing" the head of his infant son against the floor. Ya think? The baby has a fractured skull and isn't expected to survive. Another babysitting, "home alone" dad.

Family, prosecutor say abused child not likely to survive
12:16 PM, Dec. 19, 2011

Written by Darrell Clem
Observer Staff Writer

A 4-month-old Canton boy isn’t expected to survive injuries that led to criminal charges against his father, who has admitted he “messed up bad” following allegations he pushed the infant’s head against the floor of a residence on Michigan Avenue near Sheldon.

Sal Alongi, the maternal grandfather of little Hunter Sewejkis, said doctors have indicated to family members that the child isn’t expected to live.

“Hunter right now is still clinging to life,” Alongi said Monday morning, standing outside a 35th District courtroom, but “he is not expected to survive.”

He spoke moments before a preliminary exam for defendant Anthony Lawrence Sewejkis, 25, was adjourned until Jan. 5.

Inside the courtroom, Lora Weingarden, a lead attorney for the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office, made statements similar to those of Alongi. She told Judge Ronald Lowe that Hunter isn’t likely to survive and that, if he dies, higher charges will be sought against Sewejkis.

Alongi said young Hunter’s family has kept vigil at the University of Michigan Hospital, where the boy was taken from another hospital after authorities say he was abused on the night of Dec. 7 while Sewejkis was home alone with the infant.
“We’ve been through all kinds of emotions,” Alongi said. “We’ve been standing by the hospital bed, praying and hoping for the best. We’re praying for a miracle.”

Alongi, father of the boy’s mother, Leanne Garlick, described her as “not well” and said she was stunned by what authorities say happened.

“She had no idea that (Sewejkis) was capable of anything like this,” Alongi said.

Hunter has undergone surgeries to alleviate swelling after he suffered a fractured skull, and Alongi said the child has survived the last few days because doctors have used life-supporting machines to keep him alive.

“We’re going to follow this through to the end,” Alongi said, adding that he had only one wish for Sewejkis: “Rot in hell.”

Standing not far from Alongi, Kim Belmont, Sewejkis’ aunt, said she and other relatives also are asking for prayers. “We believe in miracles,” she said.

Sewejkis already has been charged with first-degree child abuse, and he could face 15 years in prison if he is convicted of that charge. Belmont said she doesn’t believe Sewejkis would intentionally hurt Hunter.

“He’s very scared,” Belmont said of Sewejkis. “He’s very worried about his son. He loves his son very much. He would trade places with him in a minute.”

Sewejkis kept his right hand over his face much of the time as he sat in court Monday morning, dressed in a green jail uniform.

His preliminary exam — a hearing to decide if he should stand trial in Wayne County Circuit Court — was adjourned until Jan. 5 after defense attorney Dennis Shrewsbury said he needed time to review evidence related to the case.

Sewejkis broke into tears during his Dec. 9 video arraignment in front of 35th District Judge James Plakas.

“I messed up bad,” said Sewejkis, who was jailed with a $500,000 cash bond.

Canton police had received a phone call from a hospital about 11 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, that it appeared Hunter had been abused.

“It has been alleged that (Sewejkis) caused a fracture to the skull of his son by pushing his head to the floor,” Detective Tim Wright said during the arraignment.

Wright said a prior referral had been made to Child Protective Services.

The mother wasn’t at home when the incident occurred.