Man Smothered Baby Daughter While Girlfriend Watched: Prosecutors

By Emily Morris on April 14, 2013 4:27pm | Updated on April 14, 2013 5:55pm

 Rodrigo Rodriguez, 29, (L) and Angela Petrov, 21, both of the 2500 block of West Fitch Avenue, are each charged with aggravated battery to a child.
Rodrigo Rodriguez, 29, (L) and Angela Petrov, 21, both of the 2500 block of West Fitch Avenue, are each charged with aggravated battery to a child.
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Chicago Police Department

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — After a West Ridge man smothered his crying 5-month-old daughter as her mother watched, the girl's parents put her in a playpen and had sex, prosecutors said Sunday.

The next morning, Rodrigo Rodriguez, 29, and Angela Petrov, 21, found the baby girl unresponsive — and now doctors say the she will have severe brain damage, if she lives at all, according to prosecutors. Rodriguez and Petrov were each charged with aggravated battery to a child.

The parents were drinking in their apartment in the 2500 block of West Fitch Avenue on Thursday evening while the baby was sleeping, Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Buck said.

As the girl began to cry, Petrov picked the baby up and gave her a bottle, Buck said.

But the infant continued to sob, so Rodriguez took the infant from Petrov and put his hand over the baby's mouth until she stopped crying, Buck said.

He did this repeatedly as the girl cried on and off and sometimes gasped for air, Buck said. Buck said the girl's mother was in the room and did nothing as Rodriguez tried to quiet the infant.

The third time Rodriguez covered his daughter's mouth, the baby went limp, according to Buck.

The couple then allegedly put the girl in her playpen, had sex and went to sleep.

The next morning about 11 a.m., Rodgriquez and Petrov noticed the baby was stiff and unresponsive in the playpen, Buck said. After the couple threw water on the girl's face and tried to perform CPR, Petrov called 911, according to Buck.

The girl was taken Saint Francis Hospital and then transferred to Lurie Children's Hospital, Buck said.

The baby suffered brain swelling due to the smothering and is currently on life support with limited or no brain activity, Buck said. Doctors also noted that the baby had a skull facture from a previous incident, prosecutors said. It was unclear how the fracture happened.

Rodriguez and Petrov were arrested later on Friday.

Dave Clarkin, a spokesman for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, said the agency is investigating both Rodriguez and Petrov for neglect and abuse after receiving a hotline call on Thursday. The couple's other children have been placed with a family member, Clarkin said.

DCFS had previously investigated Rodriguez and Petrov after hearing allegations of abuse involving another child in late January, Clarkin said. That investigation is still ongoing.

Rodriguez's mother, Crucita Rivera, said her son "would never smother a child." Rivera, 56, said her son suffers from bipolar disorder, and she had previously offered to take care of the couple's three children.

Buck said Rodriguez eventually admitted to cops that he put his hand over the baby's mouth repeatedly, and Petrov allegedly told police that she watched as it happened.

Cook County Judge James Brown ordered each parent held in lieu of $5 million bail on Sunday.

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