Abused infant declared braindead

April 25, 2008 12:21:54 PM PDT
An infant boy, who had allegedly been brutally assaulted by his mother, was declared brain dead late Thursday and was removed from life support at Elmhurst Hospital Center Friday.Eleven-week-old Pablo Paez, who was brought to the hospital on April 3, 2008, by his mother, Kiana Paez, was diagnosed with severe brain injury, and skeletal fractures, including broken ribs and a broken leg. According to doctors, some of the injuries appeared weeks old. The child had been unresponsive and has been on life-support since his admission to the hospital.

"The decision to remove the infant from life-support came about only after thorough and repeated examinations by hospital physicians tasked with determining brain death, who concluded that the infant had suffered complete loss of function in the entire brain," Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said. "Accordingly, the charges against Ms. Paez will now be upgraded to include second-degree murder."

Brown said that the 23-year-old mother, of 57-17 Xenia Street in Elmhurst, was arraigned in Queens Criminal Court on April 5, 2008, on charges of second-degree attempted murder, first- and second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child. At the time, Paez was ordered remanded and her next court date is May 5, 2008. Second-degree murder is a Class A-1 felony punishable by up to 25 years to life in prison.

"It is difficult to imagine the pain and suffering that this infant must have suffered during the few short weeks of his life," Brown said. "Or that he could have been abused in such a fashion by his own mother."

Brown said that, according to the charges and admissions allegedly made by the defendant at the time of her arrest, Paez was home alone with the baby on February 22, 2008, when, while changing his diaper, she pressed down several times on his legs in an effort to keep him from moving. She said she subsequently picked up the baby, who was two weeks old at the time, and threw him onto her bed from a distance of approximately three feet.

Six weeks later, on April 3, 2008, it is alleged that Paez was once again home alone with her son and that when he began to cry she picked him up and hit him on the side of his head with an open hand. She then allegedly strapped the baby into a car seat and left him alone. The baby subsequently had trouble breathing. When Paez allegedly tried to pick up the car seat from her bed, the car seat fell face down with the baby in it. The baby began to cry and then became silent.

It is further alleged that at approximately 9:45 p.m. that night, Paez took the baby to Elmhurst General Hospital. At the time, the child was unconscious and having difficulty breathing. A medical examination revealed that the baby had a fractured skull and head trauma, acute left subdural hematoma, acute intra-retinal hemorrhaging in the right eye, fractured ribs, contusions and lacerations to the lip, an old fractured left femur and an old right subdural hematoma.