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Griswold woman charged in death of her infant son

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Griswold — A 35-year-old Griswold woman has been charged with risk of injury to a minor and first-degree manslaughter after she admitted to suffocating her infant, according to an arrest warrant application.

First responders received a 911 call about 9:30 p.m. Nov. 17 from a person, later identified as Crystal L. Czyzewski of 127 Slater Ave., Apt. D, who was "periodically crying" and said her baby was "all white" and "pale." She said the infant was "barely breathing" and stuff was coming out of his nose, and he was breathing "very lightly," according to the warrant.

The 6-week-old infant was unresponsive and taken to Backus Hospital in Norwich, then flown to Connecticut Children's Medical Center in Hartford, where he received medical treatment for several days. He was pronounced dead on Sunday, the warrant and police report said.

The baby did not have a heartbeat when he arrived at the hospital. He appeared to have been resuscitated but was not breathing on his own, according to the warrant application. There was no sign of abuse, it said.

The results of a state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner post-mortem examination were inconclusive, pending further studies, the warrant application said.

Eastern District Major Crime Squad detectives interviewed Czyzewski and her mother. According to the warrant application, Czyzewski "initially claimed she put the victim in his swing and left with a friend to go for a walk," but later admitted she suffocated the infant. She admitted to detectives that she placed a blanket over the baby's head and placed her "hand over the blanket and the victim's face for '20 minutes,'" and then "left the baby in the swing for the remainder of the day" before calling 911 that night.

Czyzewski told detectives during the interview that she had been "stressed out due to life" and "having two kids" and both kids were crying and it was "too much," the warrant application stated.

Czyzewski's mother, according to the warrant, later admitted that she knew the baby was not alive on the morning of Nov. 17 and "acknowledged she should have called the police but said she didn't know what to do," according to the warrant. At 4 p.m. that day, Czyzewski and her mother "devised a plan to put 'food' in the victim's mouth to 'make it look like the baby was still alive.'"  

Czyzewski's mother said her daughter called 911 about 9 p.m., and her mother said she did not know her daughter had done anything to hurt the victim, according to the warrant.

Czyzewski had told police that her mother "knew the baby was not breathing, but they decided they would lie about it because she was concerned she would lose her 5-year-old if the truth was revealed."

The Department of Children and Families said it tried to contact Czyzewski "several times" while the baby was in the hospital, police said, but was not successful. Czyzewski also did not go to the hospital to visit the baby, claiming she had to care for her 5-year-old, the warrant application said.

A trooper who conducted a well-being check on the baby's older sibling noted nothing suspicious at the residence.

Czyzewski was held in lieu of a $500,000 cash/surety bond and was scheduled to appear in court in Norwich on Tuesday.

k.drelich@theday.com

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