Five-month-old Kyle Robinson was shaken so violently his spinal cord separated from his brain.
It is a grim but important detail in an arrest warrant Ansonia police used to charge 35-year-old Angel Luis Santiago with first-degree manslaughter, first-degree assault and first-degree risk of injury to a child.
Santiago is accused of causing Kyle’s death. The baby was the child of his girlfriend, Kelly Robinson-Maresca.
The injury detail was attributed to a doctor from the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, who examined the baby’s brain and spinal cord. The examination, according to police, re-affirmed the belief that Kyle died from blunt force trauma and that the death was a homicide.
Santiago, in an interview Monday with WFSB television, denied hurting the child.
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A woman saying she was the baby’s cousin e-mailed the Valley Indy twice to say that Santiago did nothing wrong and that the allegations against him are not true.
Efforts to speak to the woman by telephone Tuesday were not successful.
Santiago appeared Tuesday in front of Judge Burton Kaplan in Superior Court in Derby, where it was revealed the West Haven resident has an extensive criminal history.
Santiago was arrested six times in New York between 1997 and 2006 for a variety of gun and drug charges, according to information read in court by the bail commissioner.
He’s a convicted felon in New York and is a flight risk, said Judge Kaplan, who refused to reduce Santiago’s $1 million bond. His case was transferred to Superior Court in Milford, where more serious criminal cases are heard.
Santiago, who could face 50 years in prison if convicted, is due back in court Jan. 5, 2012.
Santiago was represented by public defender Jonathan Gable during the court appearance.
Two people supported Santiago during his appearance. They blew kisses at him when he was brought up from the courthouse jail. They quickly left the courtroom through a side entrance and wouldn’t talk to reporters outside.
The Night In Question
The 10-page arrest warrant used to charge Santiago does not provide a concise explanation of what happened to baby Kyle. The document provided enough information to convince a judge there was probable cause to arrest Santiago.
The warrant relies on statements from several doctors who determined Kyle died from injuries received shortly before he was brought to the hospital. Police allege Santiago is the only person who could have done it, partly because he was the only adult watching the baby at the time.
According to the warrant, Ansonia police received a 911 call on June 10 at about 7:19 p.m. regarding an unresponsive baby inside a second-floor apartment at 41 Hubbell Ave.
Officers arriving at the scene found the downstairs neighbors performing CPR on Kyle while Santiago was on a phone relaying instructions from a medical dispatcher. The police officers took over CPR until medics arrived.
Once medics arrived, police asked Santiago what happened. He allegedly told police he had given the baby a bottle of formula in the living room and then was busy feeding the baby’s older siblings in another room. When he came back into the living room, the baby was unresponsive, according to the warrant.
Kyle, who was not breathing, was taken by ambulance to Griffin Hospital in Derby.
Ansonia Detective Sgt. Patrick Lynch interviewed Santiago at the hospital, where Santiago provided police with a written statement. Santiago allegedly told the detective he had put Kyle on a couch and put a bottle in the baby’s mouth, propped up with a baby’s blanket.
He then allegedly left the child alone for an estimated 15 to 20 minutes while he did some chores. When he returned, the baby had thrown up and his mouth was filled with milk, Santiago allegedly told police.
After initial treatment at Griffin Hospital, Kyle was placed on a respirator and taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. Kyle was declared brain dead on June 12 at 10:20 a.m.
Through interviews with the baby’s mother, police learned that Santiago called her before calling 911. Santiago allegedly told the baby’s mother he had shaken the child to try to rouse him.
Santiago also allegedly told his girlfriend that the baby had fallen out of his lap a few days before he was found unresponsive — and that a few weeks prior to the incident, one of the baby’s older siblings had pushed the child off a bed.
Police said there was no medical records to back up the previous falls Santiago allegedly mentioned.
On June 14, Dr. Susan Williams of the state’s Medical Examiner’s Office conducted an autopsy. Dr. Williams concluded Kyle died from blunt force trauma and ruled the death a homicide. The state medical examiner’s office then sent the baby’s brain and spinal cord to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia for further tests.
On Sept. 28, Ansonia police went to the state Medical Examiner’s Office, where Dr. Williams said the baby’s injuries were “indicative of severe trauma.”
The doctor’s finding was backed up by Dr. Lucy Rorke-Adams of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Police interviewed Rorke-Adams over the phone.
“Dr. Rorke-Adams stated the injuries suffered by Kyle Robinson were severe and lethal,” police state in the arrest warrant. “The injuries were consistent with violent shaking, so much so the spinal cord had separated from the brain.”
The State Child Fatality Review Panel is also reviewing what happened to Kyle because the family was known to the Department of Children and Families prior to the baby’s death.
DCF first became involved with the family in April after an unspecified incident, according to a DCF statement issued shortly after Kyle’s death.
“A comprehensive medical evaluation determined that the reported incident was accidental,” according to the statement.
DCF officials received a second complaint in May, which was declared “substantiated neglect” against the mother’s boyfriend — unnamed — for leaving the children unattended for a “very brief” period of time.
DCF workers put a plan in place calling for a relative to assist the boyfriend and mother in caring for the children. In-home services were being arranged and a DCF worker or workers had been at the residence just days before Kyle’s death, according to the statement.