But one young Kansas City toddler no longer has a lifetime. His name was Rey A Cruz Jr., and he was just one year old. When he was found by police early in the morning last Thursday, he was clinging to life. It was reported that he was still breathing, but struggling to do so.
Little Rey's injuries were quite extensive, and police officials have given some details. It is reported that there were bruises covering most of his body. The boy also suffered from extensive brain damage; his brain was so swollen that it had been pushing down on other body parts. More specifically, this swelling caused the child's brain stem to move downward, pushing on the rest of his spinal cavity. The developmental effects of such an anatomical disturbance are unknown, and will never be known because Rey would not survive the weekend. Also as a result of the shaking, he fractured at least ten bones, all in the ribs. To add to this disturbing list, there was signs of hemorrhaging in his eyes, and bruises inflicted on his genitalia.
Within a day of being found, Rey went brain dead, and although we are unsure what point in time he passed this weekend, his body could not survive more than a few days. This infantile murder brought the Kansas City running murder total to 38.
Right away, Prosecutors charged the nineteen-year old father, Rey A. Cruz Sr. with child endangerment and assault. Now that the little boy has died as a result of these wounds, prosecutors are seeking more severe charges, possibly even murder.
By no stretch of the imagination was this child in an easy situation. His mother is believed to be in jail, and his father, Rey A. Cruz Sr., had been moving around and living with different friends and family, and just trying to make ends meet. At first, the father of this child denied any responsibility for the injuries, but later he admitted to shaking this baby. In fact, the father even admitted to having repeatedly shaken his child--on five seperate occasions. The court records we have available confirm that the father had physically thrown the baby to the ground, hit him in the head, slapped him across the face, and even thrown punches at his abdomen. His reasononing behind this abusive behavior: he was irritated by the baby's crying.
But haven't we heard that reason before? And although the mother might be in jail, what does she have to say about all of this? The sad truth is that this happens at least three times a day annually! And the people who inflict Shaken Baby Syndrome on children are often caretakers and guardians who have grown frustrated with crying infants.
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