In late August, a Minnesota man brought his 2-month-old son to a hospital in Albany, Minnesota in Stearns County. According to CBS Minnesota, the man and the infant’s mother told hospital workers that the boy was seizing and having trouble breathing. The baby was airlifted to another hospital for treatment, and staff suspected that he had been abused. The father admitted to law enforcement that he had fallen while holding the baby, but a board certified abuse physician said the injuries were not consistent with the way the man said he fell.
The infant died days later from a traumatic brain injury, and the man now faces a first-degree murder charge as well as two counts of second-degree murder.
Dissecting what happened
The infant’s mother told law enforcement that the man, who was watching the child alone, had been texting her saying that the baby would not let him sleep. The mother said the baby was acting oddly when she returned, though the father initially denied that the infant suffered any trauma.
According to Minnesota law, any sudden or unexpected death must be reported to a medical examiner for evaluation. The state statute specifically mentions unnatural deaths that could arise from violent activity. In this case, the medical examiner ruled the child’s death a homicide.
Why it happens
A report in USA Today notes that when parents are charged with a crime of killing their children, the act often dominates traditional and social media. People often cannot understand how someone would take a child’s life. Yet it is important to review the underlying reasons that can often result in the act, as it can give a glimpse into defendants’ states of mind and possibly get them the help they need.
For example, the U.S. Department of Justice reports that women are responsible for a slight majority of cases in which a parent kills a child. In many cases, this may occur due to postpartum depression or psychosis, which are serious mental afflictions. Forensic psychologists offer an array of reasons why men may end up harming their own children, and those include the following:
- They may have taken discipline too far
- They may have experienced a moment of psychosis
- They may have had difficulty adjusting to parenthood
- They may suffer from depression
Someone who is arrested on allegations of murdering a child in Minnesota could face serious consequences. The man charged with killing his 2-month-old son could receive the maximum penalty of life in prison if convicted, CBS Minnesota reports.
People with questions regarding this topic should consult with a defense attorney