Maryland Vet Charged With Murdering Adopted Son, 3

Former Marine Brian O'Callaghan says his son slipped in tub
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2014 1:01 PM CST
This image provided by Montgomery County Police Department shows Brian Patrick O'Callaghan.   (AP Photo/Montgomery County Police)
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(Newser) – Brian O'Callaghan and his wife, Jennfer, badly wanted a second child. Working with Catholic Charities, in October they adopted a South Korean toddler with special needs, whom they named Madoc Hyeonsu O'Callaghan, according to this obituary. On February 3, the 3-year-old died, with injuries police say were consistent with being beaten, the Washington Post reports. O'Callaghan, a former Marine who served in Kosovo and Iraq and works at the NSA, has been charged with his murder, and prosecutors have an awful story: They say he beat his son on January 31 or the next day, didn't help him for hours as he cleaned up bodily fluids around the home, and eventually took him to the hospital on February 1. This is "an absolutely horrific crime on an absolutely innocent young victim," says a State's attorney. "Basically this child was beaten to death from head to toe."

O'Callaghan, who appeared in court yesterday, says the boy slipped in the shower and hit his shoulder on January 31, while his wife was out of town, and that the next day everything seemed fine until the toddler went down for a nap in the afternoon and O'Callaghan noticed pink stains on the bedding and mucus coming from his son's nose. An hour later, he says, the boy was unresponsive and his condition had worsened (the AP reports that the toddler was vomiting); he washed him off in the bathtub before taking him to the hospital. A detective says O'Callaghan had no explanation for the injuries shown on the boy's autopsy—including a skull fracture, brain swelling, bruising on the forehead, and "blunt impact to the back from a linear and triangular shaped object." But O'Callaghan's attorney says a CT scan contradicted the autopsy, showing no skull fractures. He adds that his client "has the unwavering support of his family." Says O'Callaghan's grandfather, "I find it impossible to believe, because he’s worked so hard to get this baby. He was so loving with him."

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