A Glastonbury man who faces a child endangerment charge for failing to seek medical care when he discovered his 1-month-old son cold to the touch was ordered held on $1 million bail during his arraignment Monday in Superior Court in New Britain.
Divya Patel, 34, faces charges of risk of injury to a minor and tampering with evidence in connection with his son’s death.
Prosecutor Evelyn Rojas told New Britain Superior Court Judge Joan K. Alexander that there was about a five-hour delay between when Patel told the baby’s mother the baby had stopped breathing and when police were able to track down Patel and the baby in Rocky Hill. Despite the mother’s pleas, Patel never sought medical aid for his son, Ayaan Patel, according to a police report.
A court official said the investigation into what happened to Ayaan is still underway. The judge ordered Patel back to court Dec. 5.
Dr. James Gill, the state’s chief medical examiner, said an autopsy was performed Sunday but the cause and manner of the baby’s death require further study. He said it could be several weeks before testing is complete.
The arrest report prepared by two state police detectives says Patel and his girlfriend, the boy’s mother, had been staying in motels around greater Hartford for the past month.
The baby was born about a month premature on Oct. 19 at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford. The boy had jaundice at the time of his birth, the mother told police.
The stories told to police are somewhat inconsistent.
About 11 p.m. Friday, the baby’s mother called 911 and reported that she and Patel argued and that Patel left her at a gas station on Tolland Turnpike in Manchester. She told police that Patel was drunk, had the baby in the car and might be headed to his parents’ house in Rocky Hill. Manchester and Rocky Hill police were not able to find Patel.
At 6:39 p.m. Saturday, the mother called 911 again and reported that Patel called her and told her their son had just thrown up and was not breathing. She said he told her he was at the Subway restaurant his family owns at 2858 Main St. in Glastonbury and that they should meet at the Residence Inn in Rocky Hill. Glastonbury police checked the restaurant, but did not find Patel. Rocky Hill police went to the Residence Inn and found the girlfriend, who was on the phone with Patel.
A Rocky Hill officer took the phone and spoke with Patel, who would not say where he was. The girlfriend took the phone back and Patel told her he would not go to the Residence Inn if police were there. Rocky Hill police then began searching for Patel. A short time later, a Rocky Hill officer went back to the Residence Inn and found Patel’s car in a back lot. Patel, his girlfriend, his wife and the baby were in the car. The officer asked if everything was OK and the people in the car said “yes.” The officer then checked the baby and found he was not breathing and cold to the touch. The officer began CPR and the baby was taken to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, where he was pronounced dead.
In an interview with detectives, Patel said that he would sleep on the motel’s queen-sized bed with the baby and said he did not cover the boy with a blanket. He said he last fed the boy about 4 a.m. Saturday. Patel also said he put a pillow over the baby’s legs and midsection, but said it never extended to his face or chest. He said he also used an “air plane neck pillow” on the baby, but that it never went below the baby’s ears.
Patel said he fell asleep, then awoke about 9:45 a.m. The baby was not stirring, so he said said he went back to sleep. He said he never changed his diaper since feeding him about 4 a.m. Saturday. Sometime between 1 and 3 p.m., Patel told police, he placed the baby in his car carrier and put him in the car. As he drove to the East Hartford/Manchester area, he said he noticed the boy was not making any noise.
“Patel said he reached into the back seat and touched Ayaan’s head,” the report reads. “Patel said Ayaan was cold to the touch. Patel said he knew right away something was wrong so he pulled over on the side of the highway. Patel said he got out to check on [the baby] and noticed he was not breathing.” Patel told police he performed CPR on the baby and a clear liquid came out of his mouth.
When detectives asked Patel if he thought about calling 911, he said “he thought about bringing Ayaan to St. Francis Hospital, but he knew it was too late and there was nothing anyone could do for Ayaan.”
Police asked Patel if a pillow or blanket could have covered Ayaan’s face, or if he could have rolled onto Ayaan, but Patel said no.
The baby’s mother told police the couple and child had been staying in area motels, including the Residence Inn and the Extended Stay motel in Manchester. The couple also rented rooms at Hawthorne Inn Manchester. The couple did not have a crib for the baby, according to the arrest report.
The couple argued and the mother left Patel at the Residence Inn with the baby, according to the report. The mother said she talked to Patel about 4:30 p.m. Saturday and he said the baby had thrown up and was not feeling well. She said she told Patel to take the baby to St. Francis and that she would meet him there. He never showed up.
While she was waiting for him at St. Francis, she told police, Patel called her and said, “Something bad happened, we lost everything, Ayaan is not moving and not breathing,” according to the report. The mother said she told Patel to take the baby to the hospital but he refused.
They agreed to meet back at the Residence Inn in Rocky Hill, but Patel was not there and about 6:30 p.m. she called 911. Patel arrived a short time later and the mother said she checked the baby and found him to be “yellow, his eyes were closed and he was cold to the touch.”
A Department of Children and Families spokesperson could not say whether the agency had been involved with the family before this incident.