Sanford man arrested for allegedly shaking and killing baby

Sanford man arrested for allegedly shaking and killing baby

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Stephen Rodriguez Stephen Rodriguez
SANFORD, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) - The Seminole County Sheriff's Office has arrested a Sanford man in the death of his girlfriend's 7-month-old son.

Deputies were called to a home on April 17 where Stephen Rodriguez, 25, was caring for the child alone.  Rodriguez had called 911 to report that the child was not breathing.  

Investigators say the child was immediately transported to Central Florida Regional Hospital in Sanford and was later transferred to Winnie Palmer Hospital in Orlando, where he passed away two days later.

Rodriguez first told authorities that he dropped the child, which caused the baby to be unresponsive, but he later admitted to shaking the child in an attempt to revive the baby.

Investigators say it was no accident; however, Rodriguez's lawyer disagrees.

"It sounds like it was an accident, from what he told police," says Jeff Dowdy with the Public Defender's Office.  "He has cooperated and gave the interview.  He said he accidentally dropped the baby."

Friends and family say Rodriguez is a good man who had a terrible accident.

"He was a hard worker," said Deborah Nance. "He loved the baby."

Rodriguez is charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse and was booked into the John E. Polk Correctional Facility.  

He is being held without bond.

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