New York City

NYC Father Charged in Death of 7-Week-Old Son He Said Fell Off Couch

Luis Sanchez told police the boy had fallen off a couch and hit his head; the medical examiner's office ruled that account was inconsistent with his injuries

What to Know

  • A Queens father faces manslaughter and child endangerment charges in the death of his 7-week-old son earlier this month
  • Luis Sanchez told police the boy had fallen off a couch and hit his head; the medical examiner's office ruled that didn't match his injuries
  • The autopsy found the boy died of abusive head trauma caused by violent repetitive shaking; Sanchez is due back in court next month

A 28-year-old Queens man has been arrested in the death of his 7-week-old son, who died after his father told authorities he had fallen off a couch but had injuries consistent with repeat abuse, prosecutors said. 

Luis Sanchez, of Woodhaven, was arraigned last week on charges of manslaughter and endangering the welfare of a child in the death of his baby boy at their 88th Street home. 

Cops responding to a call around lunchtime Aug. 16 found Sanchez's son unresponsive; he wasn't breathing and his lips had turned blue. Sanchez told officers, according to a complaint, that his boy had been healthy just before he found the child dead. When questioned, Sanchez said he was sitting on the couch with his baby in his arms when he grabbed his 14-month-old son, who was also in the home and who, according to Sanchez, had been about to fall off the couch. 

When Sanchez grabbed the toddler, the 7-week-old boy slipped out of his arms and onto the floor, hitting his head, he allegedly told authorities. Sanchez said the baby was fussy after that so he gave him a bath; at some point he said he left the bathroom to check on the older son and returned to find the baby unconscious. 

The baby was pronounced dead at a hospital three days later. An autopsy revealed the boy had extensive retinal and subdural hemorrhages, along with several rib fractures at various stages of healing. Doctors found the infant's injuries consistent with abusive head trauma, including violent shaking -- and the medical examiner's office ruled the baby's injuries were not consistent with a fall off the couch as the father had claimed, the complaint says. 

Sanchez's bail was set at $150,000; he's due back in court next month and faces up to 15 years in prison. Attorney information for him wasn't immediately clear.

"The victim in this case was an innocent baby whose life was cut short a mere two months after his birth," Acting Queens District Attorney John Ryan said in a statement. "As a father, the defendant was responsible for caring and maintaining the safety and well-being of his young son. Instead, he is accused of violently shaking the infant to death. He now faces a lengthy period of time behind bars for his allegedly senseless and brutal actions."

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