Dad charged in 4-month-old's death - Albuquerque Journal

Dad charged in 4-month-old’s death

A 20-year-old man is facing charges of child abuse resulting in death after a recent report from the Office of the Medical Investigator found that his 4-month-old son died of “blunt force injury of the head.”

Luc Westfall was arrested and booked into jail on Saturday.

But his fiancee, and the boy’s mother, 20-year-old Chantel Shofner, said she was shocked by Westfall’s arrest and doesn’t believe that he caused their son’s death.

“I know that he would never hurt his own child,” she said. “That’s just out of the question.”

She added: “My son was always happy. My son was a daddy’s boy.”

She told the Journal that a friend had seen a new puppy jump on the baby while he was in his car seat earlier on the day he died. And she also wondered if the OMI mistook a strawberry birthmark on his head for trauma.

According to a criminal complaint filed in Metro Court: Westfall was watching his son on the evening of Oct. 25 at Eagle Point apartments, 4401 Morris St. NE. He told police that he fed the baby earlier in the evening, then put the child in his crib to go to sleep.

About 20 minutes later, Westfall heard a gurgling noise and found the baby limp and not breathing. He called 911 and put the baby on the floor to attempt CPR.

An ambulance took the baby to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Westfall told police that the baby had not been eating well for the past few days — although he had eaten that evening — and that he was born two months premature.

Police said a sweep of the apartment and the baby’s sleeping area did not reveal anything suspicious.

Both Westfall and Shofner were released from police custody pending the result of the medical investigator’s report.

Police received those findings last month. The manner of death was determined to be homicide. A medical examiner told police that, in her professional opinion, the injury occurred two to three hours before the baby was pronounced dead.

Shofner was not home at the time, and police say that put the baby in the custody of Westfall.
— This article appeared on page A6 of the Albuquerque Journal

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