FORT WAYNE, Ind. — An Indiana man has been charged with murder after his girlfriend’s 17-month-old son suffered blunt force trauma severe enough to tear his heart in two, authorities said.
Shaquille Shannon Rowe, 27, of Fort Wayne, is charged with murder, aggravated battery and neglect of a dependent resulting in death, according to court records. He is being held in the Allen County Jail.
Fort Wayne police officials reported that officers and paramedics were called to the Brookmill Courts Apartments shortly after noon May 17 on the report of a child who wasn’t breathing. They found Aiden Mishawn Clark lying on the floor, where Rowe said he’d been trying to perform CPR.
Aiden was rushed to Lutheran Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
A probable cause affidavit obtained by Fort Wayne’s NBC affiliate alleges that Rowe told police his girlfriend, Jasmine Clark, had left him at the apartment with Aiden and his twin sister, who is identified in the boy’s obituary as Aubrey Clark. Rowe said he played a video game for a while in the master bedroom and then watched TV before deciding to get in the shower.
Rowe told the 911 dispatcher he was showering when he heard one of the children crying.
“Shaquille stated that he got out of the shower and went to check on the twin children and when he opened their bedroom door, he saw (Aubrey) standing there crying and (Aiden) was lying down on the ground next to the inflatable air bed,” the affidavit states. “Shaquille stated that the baby was wheezing or raspy.”
Rowe told police he ran to a neighbor’s apartment for a phone and called 911.
The dispatcher who answered the call noted that when Rowe was explaining what had happened, he muttered, “Why did she leave me in the house like this?”
The paramedics who responded to the apartment told detectives they’d noticed bruising on Aiden’s neck and chest that they believed could be related to physical abuse, the affidavit states.
The forensic pathologist who performed the boy’s autopsy the next morning made some disturbing findings.
“Dr. (Scott) Wagner advised that (Aiden) suffered a fractured sternum,” the court document alleges. “Dr. Wagner stated that the victim’s heart was ripped in half and his pericardium sac was torn and that there was a massive amount of hemorrhaging.”
Wagner found that Aiden suffered blunt force trauma to both his chest and his left midsection. The toddler’s spleen was lacerated and there was bleeding around his left kidney and his pancreas.
“Dr. Wagner advised that (Aiden) likely died in 2-5 minutes after suffering his injuries,” the affidavit states.
Both Rowe and Clark told detectives Rowe was the only adult in the apartment with the children that afternoon.
Rowe was initially charged with battery and neglect. The murder charge was added after the autopsy was completed, authorities said.
Cox Media Group