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Elmhurst dad may get 14 yrs. for baby shake

TimesLedger Newspapers

A 28-year-old Elmhurst man admitted last week to shaking his infant child so hard she suffered permanent brain injuries, the Queens district attorney’s office said.

Isrrael Garcia, of 41st Avenue and 95th Street, was arraigned on charges of assault and endangering the welfare of a child in May, the DA said. He pleaded guilty to assault Nov. 20 before Queens Supreme Court Justice Elisa Koenderman and also gave his word to make an educational video on shaken baby syndrome, the DA said.

Koenderman plans to sentence Garcia to 14 years in prison, the DA said.

District Attorney Richard Brown said in a statement that shaken baby syndrome is the leading cause of children’s deaths from abuse every year.

“Despite increased efforts by medical and law enforcement personnel to educate the public on the dangers of shaking a baby, we are still seeing far too many cases of children dying or being permanently disabled, both mentally and physically, at the hands of their care givers,” he said. “Under no circumstances should a baby be shaken.”

Garcia’s crime was discovered May 28, when then-2-month-old Maria Gordillo was brought into Elmhurst Hospital Center’s emergency room and then New York University Langone Medical Center in Manhattan, the DA said. Doctors found Maria was bleeding in her brain and left eye, had multiple brain injuries due to trauma and oxygen deprivation, older rib fractures and bruises on her back and left foot, the DA said.

When medical tests revealed that the injuries looked like abusive head trauma and shaken baby syndrome, Garcia was arrested, the DA said. Garcia said in early May he had returned home from work feeling tired and frustrated when he heard Maria crying, the DA said. In response, Garcia squeezed the helpless girl by the torso and shook her, the DA said.

Garcia had believed he hurt her ribs but did not report it or say this to anybody else, the DA said. Garcia shook his daughter again after she began crying May 28, this time for three minutes until she appeared to go to sleep, the DA said. When he realized the baby had stopped breathing and gone limp, he called 911, the DA said.

Maria, now 7 months old, remains on life support, the DA said.

Garcia’s sentencing date is Dec. 10.

Two women in Queens received jail time for shaking babies and causing them permanent injuries leading to death earlier this year: 28-year-old Corona resident Ana Delarosa, who had hurt a 3-month-old infant, Addison Reinoso-Xoyatla, that she was baby-sitting and 21-year-old Far Rockaway resident Nyemah Nickens, who shook her 7-month-old daughter Nyla.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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