Police Drop Death Investigation of Mexican Diplomat's Son, Sources Say
MIDTOWN — Police and the medical examiner believe that the death of the 4-month-old son of a Mexican diplomat and his wife was from natural causes, despite massive bruising on the child, officials said.
The parents, whose identities were not released, brought their son, Eduardo Rocha Ovalle, to NYU Langone hospital about 9 p.m. with bruises on his feet, hands, back and genitals, sources said. He was pronounced dead there, police said. They had been in touch with doctors previously about the child's health issues, sources said.
The city's office of the medical examiner said that their autopsy was inconclusive and that they will perform further study to determine the boy's cause of death, but they do not believe the death was a homicide.
The couple's lawyer declined to comment on the specifics of the case.
"They are grieving the loss of their son and we should respect that," Roger Asmar, their lawyer, said.
Police had been called to the couple's apartment twice in 2013 to investigate domestic disputes, neighbors and police said.
Investigators questioned Ovalle's parents in the Midtown South Precinct stationhouse and went to the family's fourth-floor apartment on East 32nd Street, near Fifth Avenue, the NYPD said.
Just after 4 p.m. Wednesday, both the diplomat and his wife were released from police custody without being charged, but declined to speak with the press.
The mother, dressed in a grey dress and sandals, wept as she emerged from the building and got into an awaiting taxi. The diplomat, dressed in sweatpants and a pullover, put his arm around his wife as they got into the car and drove away with their lawyers.
The couple had moved into the building about four months before Ovalle was born, but were planning to return to Mexico at the end of the year, said the building's superintendent, Wanda Hernandez, 52.
Police had been summoned to the home twice for verbal disputes, according to an NYPD spokesman.
After the latest incident about two months ago, Hernandez overheard the mother tell an officer that her husband shook her violently, the super said.
"She said, 'He took the baby off of me hard and he shook me.' She said, 'He shook me hard and left me bruises on my arm,'" according to Hernandez.
Hernandez then spoke to the husband who told her, "She's good. Everything's fine."
The husband had recently worked in the city for the Mexican diplomatic corps as a consular officer, officials there said. Online profiles say he has over a decade of experience as a political operative specializing in international law and economics.
"According to international law, the Consulate General will provide the family the Consular assistance and protection required. We are in contact with all relevant local authorities," consulate officials said in a statement.
The father does not have diplomatic immunity, a police source said.
Additional reporting by Ben Fractenberg.