Dad Admits He Shook, Critically Injured Infant Daughter, Prosecutors Say

By Alan Neuhauser on November 20, 2012 2:14pm 

 Maria Garcia was first rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center after she was violently shaken and critically injured by her father, Isrrael, May 28, 2012. She was later transferred to New York University Medical Center, then Westchester Medical Center.
Maria Garcia was first rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center after she was violently shaken and critically injured by her father, Isrrael, May 28, 2012. She was later transferred to New York University Medical Center, then Westchester Medical Center.
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DNAinfo/Smriti Rao

QUEENS — The Elmhurst dad who crippled his infant daughter by violently shaking her on at least two occasions earlier this year has pleaded guilty to first-degree assault, authorities said.

Isrrael Garcia, 28, who made the plea in Queens County Supreme Court Monday, admitted he shook his daughter, Maria Garcia, last spring when she was only 2-months-old, the Queens County District Attorney's Office said.

He faces 14 years in prison when he is sentenced next month, the DA's office said. Garcia will also appear in an educational video on shaken baby syndrome, aimed at preventing parents from similarly shaking and injuring their children.

Maria Garcia suffered "permanent, life-threatening" injuries, including brain and eye damage, the Queens DA's office stated. Barely 8 months old, Maria remains on life support at Westchester Medical Center.

Garcia told investigators that he twice shook Maria last May in the apartment he shared with the baby and her mother, Elsa Gordillo, on 41st Avenue near 95th Street.

"In early May, he came home from work tired and frustrated, heard the baby crying, forcefully grabbed and squeezed the baby around her torso and moved her repeatedly in an up-and-down motion," the DA's office stated in describing the first incident.

Garcia admitted he believed he bruised or broke Maria's ribs, but did not report the incident to medical workers or police.

Weeks later, on May 28, Garcia was home alone with Maria when she woke up from a nap and started to cry, the DA's office reported. He grabbed the baby and shook her repeatedly for about three minutes, until she stopped breathing and went limp. Garcia claimed he then attempted to revive Maria and called 911.

The baby  suffered a range of injuries, including many to her brain and eyes. She was rushed to Elmhurst Hospital Center, then transferred to New York University Medical Center, where doctors discovered multiple old rib fractures — consistent with an adult grabbing a baby around the torso and forcefully squeezing the rib cage.

"Shaken baby syndrome is the leading cause of child-abuse deaths each year," Distrct Attorney Richard A. Brown said in the release. "Its victims are innocent and helpless children, often injured by those charged to protect them.

"Under no circumstances should a baby be shaken."

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