West Hartford newborn death from ‘abusive head trauma’ certified as homicide, father charged in death

Crime

Video from previous reporting.

WEST HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — CT State Office of the Medical Examiner has confirmed the death of a newborn baby was a homicide due to blunt injury of the head on Sunday.

At approximately 11:21 p.m. Friday, the West Hartford Police Department received a call for a medical emergency located in the home.

Sunday, the state Office of the Medical Examiner confirmed the child’s death was “certified as a homicide due to blunt injury of the head.”

Upon arrival, officers found a newborn who sustained injuries from a fall while in the care of a parent. She was unconscious but breathing when emergency personnel were called.

Paramedics administered emergency medical care to the baby on-site. Police reports indicate, at the time she was observed to have a large hematoma and swelling on her head, she was breathing, and she was moving her arm.

The baby’s father, Grant McAuslan, 34, originally told police he accidentally dropped the child while picking her up carefully from a baby lounger. He told police she fell from his arms onto the hardwood floor on her head.

The newborn was transported to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center (CCMC). Police said, initially the extent of the newborn’s injuries was not thought to be severe, but her condition quickly deteriorated.

While at the hospital, McAuslan admitted he had picked up the child “with more force than he had originally told police” and essentially “whipped” her around while turning to exit the bedroom, which caused the infant to fall and hit the floor faster and harder than originally described. He told police she landed on the side of her head. He maintained he did not intentionally throw the baby.

Detectives learned Saturday the infant had died from her injuries.

Medical officials at CCMC told police the newborn’s injuries were “a high specificity for abuse head trauma not expected from short free fall,” and that “the extensive injuries sustained were from abusive behavior.” Post mortem investigation revealed the baby’s injuries included several skull fractures, extensive hemorrhaging, and brain injury/swelling.

Detectives obtained an arrest warrant for McAuslan. He was arrested and charged with first-degree manslaughter and the risk of an injury to a minor. McAuslan is currently being held on a court-set $1.25-million surety bond.

West Hartford Police said this remains an active and ongoing investigation.

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