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Father accused of killing infant daughter

Mike Heine/The Week

(Published Nov. 6, 2007, 4:38 p.m.)

Andritsch

A month-old infant may be Walworth County's youngest-ever homicide victim.

Jason H. Andritsch, 25, of 2178 Clark St., No. 7, East Troy, is suspected of shaking his just-born baby, Naomi, on Oct. 7 while the mother went outside to dump out the baby's bathwater, according to a criminal complaint.

The baby died Oct. 13, one month after she was born, at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Wauwatosa.

"She's so young. This is the youngest victim I've seen. The date of the first offense, what is she, like 10 days old?" District Attorney Phil Koss said, seemingly in disbelief.

"I don't know how it could be any sadder. It's so tragic. Most people are so excited at birth of a child. This is so sad."

Andritsch was charged with first-degree reckless homicide and physical abuse of a child.

The infant had suffered brain damage consistent with someone picking her up, squeezing and shaking her, according to a doctor cited in the complaint.

Andritsch denied intentionally harming Naomi, but did admit that he may have injured her by being "too rough," according to the complaint.

The baby's mother, Tiffany Mielke, said the only time she wasn't with the child that day was when she went outside with the water.

When she came inside, Andritsch went running by her with the child en route to the bathroom. He said the girl was starting to deficate.

Mielke went to bring baby wipes to the bathroom and heard Andritsch say, "Naomi, wake up," or "Naomi, what's wrong?" according to the complaint.

The infant was limp in Andritsch's arms and the two went to Waukesha Memorial Hospital. She was then flown to Children's Hospital, according to the complaint.

Mielke told investigators she has only been away from the child when she showered and once on Sept. 22, when she left the infant alone with Andritsch for about five minutes.

During the autopsy, doctors determined Naomi also had rib fractures that were healing. The fractures were a week to two weeks old, according to the complaint.

Doctors said Naomi died from serious head injuries as a result of shaken baby syndrome, according to the complaint.

She had also sustained new rib fractures, retinal hemorrhaging, bleeding in the brain and bruises on her face and hand.

Andritsch said he shook Naomi, but claimed it was after she became lifeless, according to the complaint. He also said her head might have struck something in the bedroom as he was running to the bathroom with her.

Andritsch, a felon, faces up to 80 years in prison if convicted.

He is due in court Thursday for an initial appearance.

He has been in custody since Oct. 8 on a probation hold stemming from a 2001 bail jumping conviction, according to court records.

His criminal history includes charges of burglary, petty theft, violating a restraining order and bail jumping. He was convicted of petty theft and bail jumping, which resulted in a three-year prison sentence and five years of extended supervision. The other charges were dismissed as part of plea agreements, according to court records.

 

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