The Journal Gazette
Thursday, May 20, 2021 1:00 am

Man arrested in child's brutal death

26-year-old faces murder, aggravated battery charges after autopsy

JAMIE DUFFY | The Journal Gazette

A 26-year-old man has been arrested and charged with murder and aggravated battery in the death of a toddler who was battered to the point where his heart “was ripped in half.”

Shaquille Rowe, of the 2700 block of Millbrook Drive, was charged Wednesday in the boy's death Monday. His preliminary charges include neglect of a dependent resulting in death and battery with death to a person younger than 14. Rowe had bonded out on his previous charges but was arrested shortly after the charge of murder and aggravated battery were added today, police said. Court documents indicate Rowe moved to Fort Wayne from Chicago in November.

When Rowe called 911 dispatch about 12:30 p.m. Monday, he told the dispatcher he was in the shower when he heard a child crying and found him not breathing.

“Why did she leave me in the house like this?” Rowe asked the dispatcher, according to court documents.

But after an autopsy was performed Tuesday by Dr. Scott Wagner, the toddler's death was ruled a homicide. A report said the child died from blunt-force trauma to his chest, ripping his heart in half, according to a probable cause affidavit written by homicide detective Ben MacDonald.

The toddler suffered a fractured sternum and his pericardium sac, which surrounds the heart, was torn resulting in a “massive amount of hemorrhaging,” court documents said.

The blunt-force trauma to his left midsection was linked to a lacerated spleen and hemorrhaging around the left kidney and pancreas, the report showed. Because of the severity of his injuries, the toddler died within five minutes, Wagner told MacDonald.

Rowe told homicide detective Scott Tegtmeyer on scene that his girlfriend had left the home with her cousin about two hours earlier. Rowe played a video game for a while and then, when the battery in his controller started to die, he decided to watch a movie. He then said he got into the shower, court documents said.

When he heard crying, he went to check on the twin children. One twin was standing and crying while the victim was lying on the ground next to an inflatable air bed. Rowe said the baby was “wheezing or raspy,” and Rowe ran to get a phone from a neighbor to call 911, court documents said.

He administered CPR, Rowe said, until Officer Tyler Karns took over CPR with the Fort Wayne Fire Department and EMS. EMS personnel said they noticed bruising around the child's neck and chest and thought it indicated physical abuse, court documents said.

The twins' mother, Jasmine Clark, arrived and talked to police before she rushed to the hospital. A friend then told police the mother was at his home, which was 15 minutes away.

Rowe was being held in lieu of $50,000 bail at the Allen County Jail and bonded out Wednesday, according to jail spokesman. He has a court hearing scheduled for Monday.

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