Middletown, CT –Tony Moreno, whose 7-month-old son died after Moreno allegedly threw him off a Connecticut bridge, has been charged with murder, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Police recovered the body of Aaden Moreno on Tuesday evening in the Connecticut River near the town of East Haddam, miles downstream from where his father leaped Sunday from the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown, police said.
Moreno, 21, who had recently been accused of threatening the child and the child’s mother, faces an additional count of murder with special circumstances — given the child’s age — and two counts of criminal violation of a restraining order.
Middletown Police Lt. Heather Desmond said officers had applied for an arrest warrant for Moreno stemming from contact he with the child’s mother on June 25 — in violation of a restraining order — but the warrant application was sent back to them for revisions.
By the time the warrant was signed this week, Aaden Moreno was dead, Desmond said. The June 25 contact involved Moreno talking to child’s mother, but no threats were made, Desmond said.
“If this [contact] was a violent case and we thought there was imminent danger, then we would have walked the warrant over and said to the prosecutor, ‘Here, sign this,'” Desmond said. “But this was a case where the two of them just talked. There was no threat.”
Moreno is at Hartford Hospital, where he was alert and stable, authorities said. He was arraigned at the hospital and ordered held on $2 million bond.
“We suffered a great tragedy, one that we will never be really able to make sense of,” Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew told reporters Wednesday. “We extend our deepest condolences to Adrianne Oyola, Aaden’s mother, her family, and the Moreno family as they deal with this indescribable loss … This has been extraordinarily difficult for our community.”
Officers were called to the bridge after 911 calls about a man who was threatening to jump, Desmond said.
When officers arrived, Moreno jumped over a railing before they could reach him, Desmond said. He was not holding Aaden at the time. An empty stroller was located in the immediate vicinity. At the hospital later, Moreno told officers he hurled the baby over the railing before they arrived, according to Desmond.
The clothing on the body of the infant found in the Connecticut River matched what Aaden was last seen wearing, police said. Aaden’s family positively identified his body.
Moreno was recently accused of threatening the child and the child’s mother, according to court papers CNN obtained.
Oyola alleged in a June restraining order application that the 22-year-old struck her and told her that he could make the 7-month-old “disappear.”
Oyola’s handwritten complaint says that she lived with Moreno for two years and they were happy until she became pregnant. “Everything changed,” she wrote.
He called her “ugly” and “stupid” and shoved, pushed and “forcefully poked” Oyola’s chest, she alleged.
She told him to stop hitting her, she said.
“He told me, ‘If you want me to show you hitting I could show you,'” she wrote.
“He has told me I cannot take my son without his approval. I can’t bring him around my family without his approval but he could do anything he wants without letting me know. I fear for mine and my child’s safety. He could hurt my child.”
On Sunday, firefighters pulled Moreno from the Connecticut River. A search began to find the child.
Mom: ‘I’m afraid he’s going to do something to my son’
Documents show that a temporary restraining order was applied for on June 17.
A document dated that same day and signed by Connecticut State Marshal for Middlesex County Hiram Fuchs states that Fuchs went to Moreno’s address after Oyola’s sister posted messages on Facebook saying that her sister wrote that Moreno had taken the baby without Oyola’s permission.
Fuchs talked with Moreno’s mother, who said she didn’t know where he was.
“Respondent has no car and no job, and had smashed his own phone earlier that day,” the document reads.
“I left the order of protection with the respondent’s mother who said she was trying to locate him and the child,” it says.
The mother said she would bring the child to Middletown Police Department. Several hours later, Oyola called to say that she was at the police department and had the child, the document says.
On June 29, a judge denied a restraining order application, according to a court form obtained by CNN. No specific reason for the denial was included.
In the application for a restraining order, Oyola wrote, “I feel that he is a danger to my child and me. … He wanted to give up all rights to his child. Tells the baby this everyday multiple times a day.”
“I’m afraid he’s going to do something to my son. He is angry and probably isn’t thinking straight. He has told me he could make my son disapear [sic] anytime of the day. He told me how he could make me disapear [sic] told me how he could kill me. I sometimes am scared to sleep. He told me he would put in the ground and put something on me to make me disinigrate [sic] faster.”
“It’s the worst thing you could imagine — especially as a parent,” said Mayor Drew. “The loss of a child, 7 months old, his life and his future were stolen away from him. The community is mourning. Our entire community is feeling that pain for Aaden and his family.”