Infant who died in upstate NY was under supervision by CPS

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COHOES, N.Y. (AP) — A 6-week-old baby who died this week in upstate New York, possibly after ingesting methamphetamine, was under the supervision of child protective services, police said.

The infant, named Eli Ojeda-Harmon, was under the supervision of Rensselaer County Child Protective Services as the result of a court order, Detective Lt. Jason Johnston of the Cohoes Police Department said.

Anthony Ojeda, 38, was charged Wednesday with manslaughter in connection with Eli’s death. Eli died at Albany Medical Center on Tuesday after EMS workers were called to Ojeda’s home in Cohoes, near Albany.

Ojeda initially said the child had woken up from a nap and thrown up.

Under questioning, Ojeda told police that he believed the child had ingested meth. Ojeda admitted that he had failed to call for help promptly, Johnston said.

“That’s what he believed happened. He failed to get emergency medical services for the baby,” Johnston said, adding that toxicology reports on the child have not been completed.

Child protective services became involved because the infant’s mother was unable to care for him, police said. Police have acknowledged that the mother has substance abuse issues; her name has not been released.

The agency made two visits to Ojeda’s apartment before and right after the baby was placed with him and his husband, but detectives have no further information on CPS involvement. Investigators have asked CPS to provide their files on the case.

Ojeda’s husband supported the household while Ojeda cared for his infant son full-time, Ojeda’s attorney said in court Thursday. Ojeda and Eli’s mother claim Ojeda is the biological father, but police are investigating the child’s paternity.

County officials said they are cooperating with investigators but that state law prevents them from giving out information on child protective cases, the Times Union reported.

Ojeda was also charged with assault after he told police he squeezed the infant and broke his ribs when the child was only 2 weeks old, said Johnston. An autopsy determined the child was in fact healing from a rib fracture when he died, the detective said.

Ojeda was arraigned Wednesday on second-degree manslaughter and second-degree assault charges and was being held on $100,000 bail.

The Albany County Public Defender’s Office, which is representing Ojeda, said Friday it could not comment on the case.

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