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    Sunday, July 21, 2024

    Griswold woman to serve 12 years for killing her son

    A Griswold woman described by state prosecutors as someone with “extremely limited intellectual and emotional resources,” will serve 12 years in prison for killing her 6-week-old son in 2021.

    Crystal Czyzewski, 38, smothered her youngest of two children on Nov. 17, 2021, by holding a blanket and her hand over the infant’s face for 20 minutes before placing him in a swing and leaving him for much of the day before calling 911, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Theresa Ferryman said.

    Czyzewski had previously pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter and was in New London Superior Court on Monday for sentencing.

    Czyzewski, who was living with her young daughter and mother at the time of the incident, told police she was stressed out caring for her two kids. Attorney Michael Miller, who represents Czyzewski, said she also has lifelong mental health issues and “exceptionally limited intellectual and cognitive ability,” which in part explains why she sometimes enters the courtroom with an awkwardly gleeful smile.

    Miller said she appears “childlike” at times, overeager and cheerful when she should be depressed. Czyzewski, who has been in prison since her arrest in 2021, entered the courtroom on Monday with a smile but rocked back and forth and cried for most of the proceedings when her son’s death was discussed.

    Emergency medical personnel arrived at Czyzewski’s Griswold home on the morning of Nov. 17, 2021, to find her son pale and barely breathing but still alive. They also found food in the child’s mouth, part of a plan police said was concocted by Czyzewski and her mother to make it look like the child, who they thought was dead, was still alive.

    The child was taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich and later flown to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford where he died four days later.

    Miller said Czyzewski had limited financial means, she was working at Dunkin Donuts at the time of the incident, and lost her father five years ago, the only person she could turn to for family support. Czyzewski suffers from post traumatic stress disorder from being sexually abused and was diagnosed with severe postpartum depression following the birth of her daughter.

    Her untreated mental health issues, coupled with the stress of Czyzewski’s life “short circuited” something inside her,“ he said.

    “What happened that morning really was a tragic aberration,” Miller said.

    Miller said Czyzewski had her parental rights terminated and her daughter has since been adopted.

    Czyzewski’s mother, Linda Kennison, remains held in prison on a $250,000 bond and charged with risk of injury to a minor in connection with the case.

    g.smith@theday.com

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