3 charged in infant's death

Parents and man visiting their home accused in Harford

August 31, 2007|By Justin Fenton | Justin Fenton,Sun reporters

The parents of a 7-week-old infant and another man were indicted by a Harford County grand jury in the April death of the baby, who had been under the close watch of county social services, officials said yesterday.

Richard Mosely, 22, and Giovanna Mosely, 26, of Abingdon have been charged with second-degree murder, first-degree child abuse resulting in death, and second-degree child abuse nearly five months after their son, Seth, was found unresponsive in the family's Abingdon apartment on April 10. Daniel Reilly, 20, of Bel Air, also was charged. Prosecutors said he was a friend who was staying with the family.

Jerry Reyerson, the county's director of social services, said the agency had been trying to work with the family to keep it together. A source with knowledge of the investigation said social workers had taken the child to see a pediatrician soon before his death.

"We were actively involved with this family," Reyerson said. "This was a tragedy. I've been with the agency for 30 years, and we've had very few child fatality cases like these charges."

In May, a spokesman for the Harford County Sheriff's Office said, deputies were called to the 100 block of Waldon Road about 1:30 p.m. April 10 to assist with a call of an infant in cardiac arrest.

The child was taken to Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 2:20 p.m.

Because social workers are likely to be called to testify, Reyerson said he could not elaborate on the case.

"We have given what we feel we are ethically able to give out in way of details," Harford County State's Attorney Joseph I. Cassilly said.

The death was not announced by the sheriff's office at the time, and the agency has refused to release a report of the incident to The Sun, noting the investigation.

Though authorities would not discuss the child's cause of death, cardiac arrest is often associated with "shaken baby" syndrome. The National Institutes of Health describes shaken baby syndrome as a traumatic brain injury that can occur when infants are violently shaken, causing their brains to hit against their skulls.

State police said earlier this year that a 3-month-old Westminster infant who died in October was likely the victim of shaken baby syndrome. In June, following months of forensic testing, Baltimore County police charged a 28-year-old man with murder in the death last year of his Catonsville girlfriend's infant daughter, who physicians said in court papers had injuries consistent with being shaken.

Richard and Giovanna Mosely were being held at the Harford County Detention Center on $250,000 bond; as of 5 p.m., Reilly had not come before a District Court Commissioner to set bail.

Justin.fenton@baltsun.com

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