WEST HARTFORD — A local father admitted to “whipping” his infant daughter around as he picked her up in an “aggressive manner,” leading to her death from skull fractures and hemorrhaging after she fell to the floor, according to his arrest warrant.
Grant McAuslan, 34, of West Hartford, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a child. McAuslan was initially held on a $1.25 million surety bond.
West Hartford police were called to the home on Dec. 3 around 11:21 p.m. on a report that an infant had been dropped on her head, officials said. Officers who first arrived at the scene said they observed what appeared to be a large hematoma and significant swelling on the back right side of the infant’s head, according to the arrest warrant.
After initially saying the child accidentally slipped out of his arms, police said McAuslan admitted “there was more to the story” and that he wanted to “come clean,” his arrest warrant stated.
McAuslan told police he grabbed the baby with “more force” than he originally told them, essentially “whipping” her around, causing the baby to fall to the floor in a “faster and more aggressive manner” than he originally told them, according to the arrest warrant.
McAuslan maintained to police that he didn’t do this intentionally, the warrant stated.
McAuslan, who had been sleeping alongside his 2-year-old daughter in her bedroom, originally told police he was awakened by his wife to help feed the infant, the warrant stated. The infant had been sleeping in a Dock-a-Tot alongside McAuslan’s wife.
McAuslan’s wife said he appeared irritated about being woken up, but started to warm up a bottle to feed the baby, the warrant stated.
While McAuslan’s wife was downstairs, she told police she heard a loud bang followed by her husband yelling an expletive, according to the warrant.
When she went upstairs, she told police McAuslan initially denied dropping the baby, but changed his story “one second” later, saying he accidentally dropped the infant, the warrant stated.
McAuslan initially told police the infant had “slipped out” of his arms and fell onto the hardwood floor about four to five feet from where he stood, according to the warrant.
Police said they asked McAuslan’s wife if she believed he did this intentionally, to which she replied “definitely not,” the warrant stated. His wife also told police there was no history of him being physical with her or their children, the warrant stated.
The infant was transported to the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center by ambulance.
That night at the hospital, McAuslan again told police that when he dropped the infant, she was “about chest height and traveled approximately three to four feet away from his body in the air,” the warrant stated.
McAuslan told police he did not intentionally throw the infant or attempt to physically harm her, according to the warrant.
Dr. Amanda Guzikowski said the infant suffered “extensive head trauma” and it was “highly unlikely” to have been caused by falling from the height in which McAuslan said he had dropped the baby, the warrant stated.
Guzikowski told police “the extensive injuries sustained were from abusive behavior,” the warrant stated.
Dr. Nina Livingston, who is the division head of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect Program, told police and a social worker from the state Department of Children and Families that the injuries “were not consistent with a drop of the height being reported” and the most likely diagnosis was “abusive head trauma,” the warrant stated.
Images shown to police and the social worker showed head fractures and retinal hemorrhaging, the warrant stated.
Police again interviewed McAuslan at the hospital on Dec. 4. He maintained his story and told police that as he picked up the infant from the Dock-a-Tot and went to turn around and feed her when the baby “spilled out” of his hands and fell to the floor, landing on the side of her head, the warrant stated. He told investigators he may have tripped over his own feet, according to the warrant.
As police were leaving the hospital, however, they said McAuslan approached them and admitted he wanted to “come clean.”
Police said the infant died at the hospital at around 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 4.
Livingston shared with police a post mortem skeletal survey of the infant, which showed detailed injuries, including skull fractures, hemorrhaging and evidence of a brain injury and swelling, the warrant stated.
An arrest warrant was issued for McAuslan, and police took him into custody on Dec. 5, records show.