A 21-year-old Rehoboth man watching his twin 3-month-old sons has been charged with homicide after one boy stopped breathing.
Sidney G. Davis III was arrested by the Delaware State Police Homicide Unit May 13 after an investigation into the death of his son, Zhaden, which was ruled a homicide by the chief medical examiner.
According to police reports, examinations by doctors in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit for A.I. duPont Hospital in Wilmington revealed Zhaden suffered traumatic brain bleeding, three left-side rib fractures, massive retinal hemorrhages and subdural hematoma in the brain.
Attending doctors said the traumatic injuries were all indications the boy had been shaken violently, police said.
News of Davis’ arrest shocked people who knew him, who said he appeared to be a good father.
The police investigation began May 10 after Davis called 9-1-1 around 11:30 a.m. to report his 3-month-old son was not breathing and was unresponsive.
Court records show paramedics and emergency medical services personnel responded to a room at the Sea Esta Motel 4 in Rehoboth. They transported Zhaden to Beebe Healthcare in Lewes, where doctors were able to establish a heartbeat before he was flown to Wilmington for further treatment. Doctors declared Zhaden brain dead at 9:47 p.m., and pronounced him dead from his injuries May 11, said court documents.
Brandon Morris, Sea Esta III and IV general manager, said the motel was not allowed to comment without written consent from the client. Police reports say Davis was brought into Troop 4 in Georgetown May 13 by family members. Questioning revealed Davis was caring for Zhaden and his twin brother beginning at 10 a.m., May 9, while the mother of the boys visited her grandmother, police said.
At one point, court documents show, Zhaden became upset and was crying. Davis told police he began shaking the child in an attempt to quiet him. Reports said the mother returned for 15 minutes at 10:30 a.m., May 10, before leaving for work. The mother said during that brief period, the other twin was sleeping and Zhaden was whining, but otherwise seemed fine, said police reports.
Court records show that Davis admitted to shaking Zhaden again until he fell asleep that was just after the mother left for work. He then took a shower; afterward he discovered Zhaden was not breathing.
Davis was arraigned at Justice of the Peace Court 2 in Rehoboth on the charge of first-degree murder by neglect or abuse and committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on $100,000 cash bond. The other twin was uninjured during these incidents and is in the care of his mother, police said.
Wally Johnson, director of public relations for the Community Resource Center in Rehoboth Beach, said the couple had been put up in the motel by the state because they were homeless.
He said the center provided the couple with diapers, baby food and wipes. “Just about anything they needed,” he said.
Jill Fredel, Delaware Health and Human Services communications director, said the agency could not comment on this case specifically, but there are emergency services provided by the state for people in need of housing. Johnson said when he heard what happened, he was floored. “The parents were so nice. The boys were just perfect, and the father was always a perfect gentleman,” he said.