Two-month-old Aiden Lee McGrew was sleeping peacefully in his swing on the morning of April 20. His father, Quintin, probably taking advantage of the opportunity to snag some peace and quiet-filled rest for himself because he wasn’t feeling well, managed to get the baby’s three year old sibling down for a nap and they all dozed, unwitting that disaster was unfolding. For no clear reason, the family dog—a recent rescue new to the home—attacked little Aiden, biting and ultimately dismembering his tiny, defenseless body.
Chantel, the baby’s mother, who had been at a doctor’s appointment with the couple’s 7 year old at the time of the accident, came home to find her infant son lying face down on the floor. I just can’t imagine that kind of horror. That she was even coherent enough to make the 911 call that described the grizzly and heart-wrenching scene she’d come home to is amazing to me.
I’ve covered hundreds of tragic stories that have reduced me to tears and haunted me during the ins-and-outs of my daily routine. But this one right here made me physically nauseous. This is every parent’s nightmare. What makes it even sadder is that, in the midst of what has to be a level of grief and guilt you and I can’t understand, Aiden’s father may be cited for parental neglect.
The investigation is ongoing, so no official charges have been announced, but the coroner’s office has declared the baby’s death a homicide and has hinted that the blame for his absolutely horrific death falls squarely at the feet of the child’s dad. This is a tragic situation, but I don’t think the parent in charge should necessarily be held criminally responsible. Unless some egregious piece of breaking information crops up—like he was out-of-his-mind wasted, for example—it just seems like maybe, at the most, bad decision-making.
I know folks want to firebomb the parent at the heart of these types of stories with a whole bunch of should’ve, could’ve, would’ve but I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve let my daughter nap in another room unsupervised. I’d check on her regularly, but she’d be snoozing on my bed with pillows on each side of her and I’d be in the kitchen doing dishes or in the back room doing laundry. Sometimes if she was fussy, I was just happy the child was asleep, much less even think about moving her and disrupting her slumber. So I’ve let her rest in the car seat carrier, the floor, wherever, as long as she was safe. (All of this, I should add, is before she became a mobile and inquisitive crawler and toddler.)
So I can empathize with this father, who probably didn’t see any harm in leaving his baby only feet away from where he was lying himself (and seriously, they live in a single-wide trailer, so how much space could there actually have been between him and the sleeping child?) But the other two children have been removed from the home, ostensibly until the investigation is complete though there’s no telling what Child Protective Services might determine, even independent of the authorities who are on the case.
Meanwhile, the Golden Retriever-Labrador mix, a rescue dog who had recently been welcomed into the home, is in the care of animal control. I’m actually kind of surprised he hasn’t been euthanized, considering the brutality of the attack and the age of the child involved. I guess only time will tell the fate of everyone involved. But even if he’s cleared of any wrongdoing and can move on with his life, how do you ever, ever recover from such a terrible accident? It’s just horrible.
Do you think Quintin McGrew is at fault? Should he be charged with homicide?
Image via bliksem tobey/Flickr