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Father charged with murder after he claimed his 5-week-old Baby Boy Died choking on formula – doctors cited in court documents painted a much more disturbing picture of Abuse

father charged with murder after he claimed his 5 week old baby boy died choking on formula doctors cited in court documents painted a much more disturbing picture of abuse
Butler County Sheriff’s Office

Dustin Eugene Mason, 25, stands accused of one count of murder in the second degree for the Oct. 28, 2022, death of his child, an affidavit of probable cause obtained by Law&Crime notes.

Deputies with the Butler County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the defendant’s residence on Mustang Lane in response to a 911 call about an unresponsive infant, the court document says. The boy’s mother, who had been out getting pizza, arrived home to find her boy “had quit breathing and was turning blue and lifeless.”

Tiffany Mason said her husband, the boy’s father, told her that he had been feeding their son a bottle when the child “started to choke on the baby formula and a few moments later blood started coming out of [his] mouth, his arms went limp and he stopped breathing.”

The baby boy, whose name is redacted in the affidavit, was given CPR and rushed to a nearby hospital. Then, after remaining unconscious for some 30 minutes, the boy was taken to a children’s hospital in St. Louis. He was placed on life support but succumbed to his injuries on Nov. 2, 2022.

The defendant was later questioned and gave a more detailed version of the events he claimed preceded the child’s death.

The affidavit reads:

[Dustin] Mason stated he was feeding [the boy] a bottle of baby formula and had to go the bathroom. [Dustin] Mason stated he put [the boy] in his baby swing and used a blanket to prop the bottle to where [the boy] could still eat it. [Dustin] Mason stated while in the bathroom he heard [the boy] choking, ran back into the living room and pulled the bottle from his mouth. [Dustin] Mason stated he picked [the boy] up and began to pat his back to make him cough up the formula. [Dustin] Mason stated while patting [the boy’s] back, blood and baby formula started to come out of his nose. [Dustin] Mason advised he used a syringe to suck out the baby formula and began patting [the boy’s] back, and after a few moments [the boy] began to turn limp and blue.

Before the boy died, however, doctors at the children’s hospital in St. Louis determined the child had suffered abusive head trauma, including internal bleeding, hemorrhaging around his brain, direct brain injury, retinal hemorrhages, and possible rib fractures.

“Choking on formula is not a reasonable explanation of these findings,” the team of doctors summarized, according to law enforcement.

On the day the boy died, another doctor wrote a letter to the critical care unit at the hospital. The letter, as summarized in the affidavit, said that the child had “sustained severe irreversible brain injuries,” which resulted in “escalating life support measures due to his grave condition” but, at the same time, “advised that further life-saving measures should be terminated so that [the boy] could pass peacefully as there was no hope for recovery.”

An autopsy the next day determined the 5-week-old boy “died as a result of complications due to closed head injuries that occurred over a period of time.”

A pathologist who specializes in child abuse death examined images of the boy’s brain and eyes and determined that he lacked blood flow to several parts of his brain, suffered tears on the tiny veins that criss-cross the brain, and had numerous hemorrhages and areas of bleeding throughout his brain, optic nerves, and retinas.

The alleged abuse occurred unbeknownst to the pediatrician who had cared for the boy since he was born at 37 weeks. That doctor even saw the child the day before he died and “found him to be doing well without any listed problems,” the affidavit notes.

After a months-long investigation, Dustin Mason was charged on Monday. He was arrested on Tuesday. At his initial appearance on Wednesday, the defendant requested a bond reduction, which was denied. He is no longer listed as an inmate by the BCSO.

“Case called,” a docket entry for his Thursday arraignment reads. “State appears by APA Justin Kelley. Defendant appears, in custody, with Counsel, Sarah Holt and waives reading of Complaint. Defendant is informed of the conditions of release, that a warrant may be issued immediately upon any violation of a condition of release, and of the right to a release hearing. Defendant requests bond reduction which is denied.”

A bond hearing is currently slated for June 29.

Authored by Colin Kalmbacher via Law and Crime June 23rd 2023

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