Police say a seven-month-old baby boy, found floating in the East River on Sunday, most likely died while under the care of his father in the Bronx. NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea said the father took a flight to Thailand on Monday, but that he will returning to NYC to face charges within a week. “He’s not going anywhere,” Shea told reporters yesterday.
The father was identified as 37-year-old Co-Op City resident James Curie. Apparently he had a planned visitation with the baby, Mason Saldana, this past weekend. Shea said during the press conference that the mother dropped off the baby on Saturday and, based on surveillance footage, Currie returned to his Bronx apartment around 12:50 p.m. Then, at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Currie was spotted leaving his home with a “backpack rigged” to be a baby carrier on his chest, with a blanket covering the baby entirely.
Shea said investigators believe Mason died in the 24 hour period between being dropped off to Currie and Currie leaving his apartment on Sunday. The NYC Medical Examiner is working to determine the cause of death.
Police also found security camera footage of Currie walking in lower Manhattan between the South Street Seaport and the downtown heliport toward the East River, still with the backpack, around 3:10 p.m. Then, at 4:05 p.m., the first 911 call came about a “baby in the water.” A backpack was found in the water near the baby; police are determining whether that was Currie’s backpack.
“There will not be a good ending to this story,” Shea said. He called the situation “heartbreaking” for the mother, who called 911 on Monday night after the baby never arrived to daycare. “No one could listen to the [mother’s 911] call without their blood curdling… At some point during the call, the mother brings up on her own that she heard on the news about a child in the water and fears the worst and starts crying.”
“This is clearly something that no parent should have to live through,” Shea added.
Currie was detained upon landing in Bangkok and prevented from entering the country. He will be sent back to New York to face arrest for concealment of a human corpse, a felony.