New York

Dad Who Allegedly Dumped His Dead Baby in East River, Then Fled to Thailand Has Been Returned to NYC: Sources

Only News 4 New York has video of the arrest of James Currie, the man suspected of tossing his baby into the East River over the weekend

What to Know

  • The father of the infant found floating in the East River over the weekend has landed at JFK after he tried to flee to Thailand, sources say
  • The 37-year-old man from Co-op City is expected to face charges of concealment of a human corpse in connection to the case, authorities say
  • The baby, Mason Saldana, was discovered near the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge Sunday just after 4 p.m. by a tourist from Oklahoma

UPDATE: 'You Will Never See Mason Again': East River Dad Sent Taunting Texts to Baby's Frantic Mother, Complaint Says

The father of the 7-month-old infant who was found floating in the East River over the weekend has landed back in New York City after he was taken into custody in Thailand, law enforcement sources say.

James Currie, 37, arrived at Kennedy Airport on a Korean Airlines flight Thursday evening after he tried to flee the country earlier in the week, according to sources. Homeland Security Investigations, NYPD and Customs and Border Protection worked together to track him overseas and bring him back to the U.S. 

Currie booked a ticket to Thailand after allegedly dumping his dead child in the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. His flight connected in Abu Dhabi and India before landing in Thailand, where he was taken into custody, sources said.

Exclusive video obtained by News 4 shows a handcuffed Currie being led to a swarm of agents waiting on the jetbridge. He complied with orders to put his hands behind his head and stood silently as an officer placed a chain around him, then led him off the plane, the video shows. 

Currie, of Co-op City in the Bronx, is charged with concealment of human corpse in the alleged dumping of his baby, identified as Mason Saldana, authorities say. Additional charges could be filed pending an autopsy. A determination on the baby's cause of death isn't expected this week.

He was being taken to the NYPD 13th Precinct station in Manhattan. 

The baby boy, who was born in January, was alive when he was exchanged between the mother and father at the mother’s residence around 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, NYPD Chief Dermot Shea previously said. About 24 hours later, when the child’s father was seen leaving his home with a backpack covered with a blanket, fashioned as a baby carrier, the baby was likely dead, officials said. 

Currie was then seen walking in Lower Manhattan, between South Street Seaport and Wall Street Heliport, around 3:10 p.m. with the backpack, officials say.

The baby's mother allegedly attempted to get in touch with Currie before sensing something was amiss, and she contacted authorities Monday night. 

During the "blood-curdling" call to 911, the mother said the child was not dropped off at day care, Shea said, adding that she'd heard about the child in the water, feared the worst and started crying.

It was because of this call that authorities were able to identify the child found in the river.

According to officials, there was a court-stipulated agreement for visitation involving the parents, who were not legally married, and the child, but there were no red flags.

It's unclear if Currie has an attorney. 

The baby was discovered near the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge Sunday just after 4 p.m. A tourist from Oklahoma saw the child floating in the water and jumped in to bring him ashore, then tried to resuscitate him, witnesses and police said.

Monte Campbell, the tourist from Stillwater, Oklahoma, who jumped into the water, said it was his wife Diana who first spotted the baby's body.

"She just called me over and said there was a baby in the water. I called 911. At that point I thought it was a doll," said Campbell. He jumped into the water and brought the baby ashore, performing CPR until help arrived.

Police said they moved the child from the embankment to the pedestrian walkway and continued CPR until an ambulance came. Diana Campbell said her husband didn't feel a pulse.

A backpack was floating near the baby, she said. It was also recovered.

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