CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — Police are charging a Cranston man with murder, accusing him of shaking his baby to death. The 3-month-old boy died Saturday.
The infant’s family identified him Monday as Giovanni Pena Romero. His maternal grandfather, Eddy Pena, said the family was devastated and angry.
Cranston Police say Elias Romero, 24, originally faced one count of first-degree child abuse after his infant son was found not breathing inside his Station Street home on July 7. Baby Giovanni was taken to Hasbro Children’s Hospital, where police said he regained a pulse but was unable to breathe on his own.
Police said the staff at Hasbro told detectives the child had injuries consistent with abuse, specifically trauma to the head, also known as “shaken baby syndrome.” Police said Romero was home alone with Giovanni and his toddler brother while his wife, the mother of both children, was at work. He shook the baby, police said, and called his wife. She called 911.
Two days later, Giovanni died from his injuries at the hospital.
“This is a tragic incident that weighs heavily on the hearts of not only the child’s family, but also the entire Cranston Police Department,” Cranston Police Chief Michael Winquist said in a statement. “I commend the detectives who handled this case, which was difficult on so many fronts. They are parents of young children themselves and maintained their professionalism, composure and empathy throughout the course of the investigation.”
On Monday, a judge formally withdrew the abuse charge and charged Romero with murder.
Romero, who was visibly upset in court, waived the reading of the facts of the case and was ordered held without bail until a hearing on July 25.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to raise money for the funeral expenses.