The parents of a 6-month-old Des Moines boy were charged Friday with second-degree murder in connection with his death in February. The baby suffered broken bones, bruising, bites and acute bleeding in the brain caused by blunt-force injuries to his head.
When Demond Hudson Jr. was born in August 2015, he was a perfectly healthy baby boy, weighing in at just under 8 pounds.
When he died in February, the 6-month-old’s body was covered in bite marks and bruises, and an autopsy revealed he had at least 21 rib fractures of varying ages, a newly broken right arm, a massive amount of fluid in his brain, a possible skull fracture and other injuries, according to murder charges filed Friday by King County prosecutors.
After a lengthy investigation by Des Moines police, the child’s parents were booked into King County Jail on Thursday night, jail and court records show.
Demond Hudson, 27, and BJ Meola Silipa, 26, were each charged Friday with second-degree murder, accused of abusing and neglecting the baby, who was pronounced dead at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way on Feb. 16, according to the charges. Hudson and Silipa are each being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
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Silipa is pregnant and expected to soon deliver the couple’s second child, charging papers say.
The charges indicate that Hudson and Silipa met in 2011 as both were in the process of getting out of the Navy.
“The abuse of trust inherent in the parent-child relationship and the complete indifference that each of these parents demonstrated to the health and welfare of their infant child is astounding,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Lisa Johnson wrote in charging papers.
Upon the baby’s arrival at the hospital, staff immediately “noted that bruises and scratches covered DJ’s face, one pupil was gray, his legs were discolored, his belly was distended, his head was extremely large for his body and he appeared malnourished,” Johnson wrote.
Though the baby was cold to the touch, doctors tried to resuscitate him for 40 minutes, the charges say; he never regained a pulse. Due to the suspicious nature of his injuries, hospital personnel contacted police, according to charging papers.
Detectives later learned that a public-health nurse had told Hudson to contact the baby’s doctor after she became alarmed by the size of the child’s head during an appointment in December, the charges say. Hudson later claimed he’d set up a doctor’s appointment but detectives determined he had lied and the baby hadn’t received any medical attention in the weeks before his death, according to charging papers.
The baby’s primary cause of death was acute and chronic bleeding in the brain caused by blunt-force injury to his head, but his other injuries were deemed to have contributed to his death, say the charges.
“These injuries contributing to his death can only be explained as inflicted injuries,” charging papers say. “ …(M)edical history and police investigation provide no evidence of appropriate medical therapy, supporting neglect as a major contributor to death.”
Hudson and Silipa are to be arraigned Nov. 17.