Prosecutors: Father accused of killing infant told investigators he died in his sleep
KENOSHA (WITI) -- A 34-year-old Kenosha man is accused of killing his two-month-old son. Robert Stynes made his initial appearance in court on Thursday afternoon, April 20th -- blowing a kiss to his parents as he entered the courtroom. He's facing one count of second degree reckless homicide. Prosecutors say the child suffered a skull fracture, and Stynes told investigators the baby died in his sleep. Stynes family insists there's no way he did such a thing.
According to a criminal complaint, on Tuesday, April 11th, Kenosha police were dispatched to a home on 7th Avenue for a report of a deceased infant. Officials found Stynes crying and attempting to do chest compressions on his two-month-old son. The baby was pronounced dead shortly after 4:00 p.m. at the hospital.
Following an autopsy, the preliminary cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.
"The amount of force is not consistent with essentially accidental causes," said Kenosha County District Attorney Mike Gravely.
Officials questioned Stynes, who indicated he and his two-month-old son were taking a nap -- with the baby in a bassinet beside him shortly after 10:00 a.m. When Stynes woke up, he told police he found the baby had turned himself onto his chest, and wasn't breathing. The complaint states Stynes said the baby had thrown up all over himself. Stynes then called 911.
"All of those things were lied about. When directly asked, all those things were lied about until he was confronted, frankly, a day after the child's death," said Gravely.
The complaint notes that the baby's mother told investigators the child was "completely incapable of rolling over on his side or stomach."
According to the complaint, investigators noted a two-year-old child was running around the apartment "completely naked," and there was no vomit or spit up in the bassinet at all.
The two-month-old was pronounced dead at the hospital.
The complaint states the detective indicated during questioning that Stynes became very defensive and repeatedly stated, "I didn't do anything wrong. You guys are charging me for something I didn't do." The complaint states the detective found this statement interesting because at no time did he accuse Stynes of doing anything wrong.
The complaint notes that the child's mother told investigators she was able to hold him one last time at the hospital, and at that point, she felt a small bump on his head.
An autopsy revealed the child had suffered a blunt force injury to his head. The medical examiner noted this type of injury would have involved "very significant force," consistent with "a baby being dropped from a standing height onto a corner of a hard object," or consistent with "a traffic accident causing a skull fracture."
The upstairs neighbors told investigators they heard two loud noises from upstairs about 10 minutes before law enforcement arrived.
According to the complaint, when confronted with the fact that the autopsy showed the baby had a fractured skull, Stynes "immediately became frantic and panicky," and said he hit the child on the back of his head while giving him CPR. At this point, Stynes said for the first time that "he had fallen down while running with the baby in his arms," and he "wasn't sure if the bay hit his head or not."
The complaint notes that investigators wanted to take a look at Stynes' text messages, but he said he always deletes texts from his phone. The baby's mother noted that "someone had purposely deleted texts between Stynes and herself."
The baby's mother and her family declined to comment at the hearing. Stynes' mother says her son loved the boy too much to have killed him.
"Something's not making sense here. Something's not right here. He just didn't do this; I know he didn't," said Kristine Brittich, Stynes mother.
"This is not a situation where we're finding a violent person who blows up and takes it out on a young baby. He loved his child. There was no reason for him to do this," said Terry Rose, defense attorney.
Stynes attorney says they plan on taking the case all the way through trial.
"This is the beginning. This is not the end," said Rose.
Stynes has been charged with one count of second degree reckless homicide. If convicted, he could pay a $100,000 fine and spend up to 25 years in prison.
Stynes remained in custody with his bond maintained at $25,000. His request to be allowed to attend the baby's funeral was denied.