New London police say man admits to shaking baby

Adam Browne
Courtesy of New London Police Department Adam Browne

New London — A 24-year-old city man remained in prison under a suicide watch Friday after allegedly shaking his 2-month-old son and causing a life-threatening brain injury consistent with shaken baby syndrome.

The baby was first taken to Lawrence + Memorial Hospital early Friday morning and later was flown to Yale-New Haven Hospital for advance medical treatment, according to a police report on the case.

Medical personnel in New Haven have given the unidentified infant a poor prognosis. He was listed in critical condition Friday evening, police said.

Police charged the boy's father, Adam M. Browne, with first-degree assault and risk of injury to a minor. The arrest came shortly after Browne's alleged admission that "he shook the victim and caused the injuries," the police report says.

Browne was arraigned in New London Superior Court and ordered held in lieu of a $500,000 bond. The case was transferred to the court's Part A division for serious felonies.

Court records indicate that Browne is on a suicide watch in addition to a medical watch and mental health watch.

New London Deputy Police Chief Peter Reichard said that if the infant dies, it would be the decision of the New London County State's Attorney's Office whether to upgrade the charges against Browne.

Police were first alerted to a situation at 2:30 a.m. Friday, when Browne called 911 from his 48 Crystal Ave. apartment to report that his son was limp and not breathing, police said. While a dispatcher walked Browne through emergency medical procedures over the phone, the fire department sent personnel and later transported the baby to the hospital.

Police, meanwhile, questioned Browne about what had happened.

Browne lives with the child's mother and her two 4-year-old children. He said she was visiting a friend at the hospital Thursday night and the children were in his care, police said. Browne told police he put all three children to bed. His son was in a car seat where, he said, the infant sleeps more comfortably than in a crib.

At first, Browne told police he had checked on his son and had found him limp and not breathing. He later changed his story, police said, admitting in a recorded confession that the baby had woken up crying at about 11:30 p.m. Thursday. He said he had changed the diaper, had tried feeding and burping the infant, but the child was still crying and spitting up.

"The accused stated the victim continued to cry and he got frustrated," according to the report.

Browne's response, according to police, was to shake the infant five or six times while holding the infant under the arms.

"The accused stated the victim's head was moving back and forth," according to the police report. "The accused reported the victim stopped crying and became docile …" and "looked like he was sleeping."

He then placed the child back in the car seat and left the room "to take a break," police said.

Browne returned to the room to find his son limp and not breathing, at which point, police said, he brought a piece of ice to wake the child. Becoming frantic, Browne also attempted mouth-to-mouth resuscitation before calling 911.

Lawrence + Memorial Hospital reported that the infant had sustained "bilateral hemorrhaging to the brain," according to the report. On a follow-up call to Yale-New Haven Hospital, police said, a nurse practitioner reported the child was not likely to survive.

Browne is due back in court on Nov. 6.

g.smith@theday.com

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