FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — A Fort Wayne man has been charged in the death of his girlfriend’s toddler son, who authorities said was battered so badly an autopsy found that his heart had been ripped in half.
Shaquille Rowe, 27, was arrested Wednesday and charged with battery to a minor causing death and neglect of a dependent resulting in death in Monday’s death of 17-month-old Aiden M. Clark.
The Allen County Coroner’s Office ruled the child’s death a homicide and found that he died of blunt force injuries to the chest.
The boy had suffered a fractured sternum, his “heart was ripped in half,” and he suffered other injuries, including a lacerated spleen, according to a probable cause affidavit.
Police said Rowe was the only adult present in a home with his girlfriend’s twin children. He told first responders he was showering when he heard crying, got out and began administering CPR to the boy after finding that he wasn’t breathing.
But officers suspected physical abuse after noticing bruising around the child’s neck and chest.
Rowe told police the boy’s mother had left him home alone with her twins, according to the affidavit.
Rowe, who was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail, bonded out of the Allen County Jail on Wednesday, a jail spokesman said. He has a court hearing scheduled for Monday.
Online court records do not list an attorney who could speak on Rowe’s behalf.