Crysta Dorothy was charged with risk of injury to a minor, making a false statement to police, interfering with an officer and two counts of conspiracy. Police are seeking her boyfriend, Keith Loftus. (Courtesy of Old Saybrook Police Department / February 19, 2013)
A mother is in custody and police are looking for her former boyfriend after an investigation into the life-threatening injuries the mother's child suffered while in the man's care, police said.
Crystal Dorothy, 26, of Second Avenue, turned herself in on Tuesday.
She was charged with risk of injury to a minor, making a false statement to police, interfering with an officer and two counts of conspiracy. Police are seeking her former boyfriend, Keith Loftus, 31, whose last known address was in Deep River. He is wanted on charges of first-degree assault, risk of injury to a minor, interfering with an officer, and two counts of conspiracy.
Police said the baby suffered injuries consistent with "shaken baby syndrome." The injuries occurred when the child was 7 months old. The child survived and is now in special foster care.
"Ms. Dorothy recognizes that she made some poor decisions, including dating Mr. Loftus," said Jennifer Celentano, Dorothy's attorney. "However, she has never injured her son. Ms. Dorothy would like to see Mr. Loftus prosecuted and will cooperate with the authorities to that extent."
The investigation began with a referral to the state Department of Children and Families by the staff at Yale-New Haven Hospital. The child was taken to the hospital Sept. 16 and staff there recognized injuries consistent with shaken baby syndrome.
The baby's brain was bruised and bleeding, his lower spinal column had blood pooling and he had bruises on both sides of his face and on his buttocks, according to an arrest affidavit.
Hospital staff called DCF, who notified police.
Dorothy initially told police that her son sustained the injuries by falling out of a baby swing and after Loftus' dogs knocked him over. She said Loftus was with the baby when the injuries occurred and, although she was not in the same room as them, she was in the house, the affidavit says.
She later said her son was injured after she dropped him and Loftus off at Loftus' parents house in Deep River on Sept. 13 and 14 while she went to work. She said she had believed Loftus' explanation for the injuries because she had never seen him treat the baby in a rough manner.
"She stated that she was having a difficult time grasping the thought that Keith would intentionally hurt the victim," the affidavit states. Dorothy also said Loftus told her what to say to police and to DCF.
She brought the baby to the hospital Sept. 16 when he appeared to be having a seizure, the affidavit states.
When Loftus was told that the baby suffered from "shaken baby syndrome," he sobbed and said he didn't understand how a fall would lead to that diagnosis. He said he was bouncing on the bed on his knees while holding the boy to his chest. The boy fell onto a stack of hard-covered books, landing on his butt, the affidavit says.
Loftus described a second accidental injury to the boy. He said the boy was knocked over by dogs in the living room of the house and appeared to be dead. Loftus said he shook him, but not too hard, in order to revive him.
Loftus told police he was serving a suspended sentence and "owes" Manchester seven years. The arrest affidavit does not specify what he was convicted of, but online court records indicate he was convicted in Manchester in 2007 of burglary, larceny, stealing a fire arm and violation of probation.
He was sentenced to seven years in prison, suspended after 22 months and followed by three years of probation.
Dorothy's bail was initially set at $100,000 and was arraigned Tuesday at Superior Court in Middletown, where her bail was reduced to $25,000. She posted bail and was released.
Police are looking for Loftus and ask that anyone with information about his whereabouts call Old Saybrookpolice at 860-395-3142.