A baby boy found floating dead in the East River off of New York City in the summer of 2018 was killed, the city’s medical examiner said.
The boy’s father, James Currie, attempted to flee the country after allegedly dumping his son, Mason Saldana, into the water. He was arrested in Thailand before he could reach connecting flights he had booked through Abu Dhabi and India.
Investigators said in the criminal complaint filed against Currie that the father carried his baby in a backpack from his Bronx apartment to the river and tossed the boy into the water near the Brooklyn Bridge.
A formal complaint against Currie alleged that he taunted the baby’s mother before tossing the boy into the water.
“The good news we [sic] will never see each other again,” Currie texted the baby’s mother after she asked him where Saldana was.
He then told her that “I am not in the USA” and “you will never see [the victim] again,” reported the New York Post.
A source told the Post that Currie had been trying to get custody of his son. “Sometimes you can know a person but you don’t really know him,” the source said. “I can’t believe he had that in him.”
Currie was originally charged with improperly disposing of a corpse and pleaded guilty to the charge. He remains in jail pending a court appearance on May 16.
RIP BABY MASON: A funeral for 7-month-old Mason Saldana was held in the Bronx after the baby was found dead in the East River earlier this month. Our hearts go out to Mason’s loved ones during this tragic time. 💔 https://t.co/6kfTeiJGOv pic.twitter.com/Scz6apkiSy
— Eyewitness News (@ABC7NY) August 21, 2018
The medical examiner said that all signs indicate that Mason, who was 6 months old when he died, was killed.
“While the exact cause of death cannot be determined, various factors indicate beyond reasonable doubt that recent homicidal violence occurred,” Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Barbara Sampson said in a statement obtained by NBC 4.
Investigators said after Currie was arrested that he could face additional charges depending on the outcome of the investigation and the results of the autopsy. It wasn’t immediately clear what additional charges he’d face after Sampson’s conclusion or when he’d be charged.
BREAKING: FDNY says person pulled from East River. By Dover and Water St. witness says he saw baby in diapers floating in the river. pic.twitter.com/PyveereVkx
— CeFaan Kim (@CeFaanKim) August 5, 2018
Tried to Save Him
Tourists at the South Street Seaport spotted the baby floating in the water and one, Monty Campbell, a firefighter and chiropractor from Oklahoma, tried to save the boy.
“I’m just incredibly sorry, for the family, and just thankful we did what little part we could to recover the body, But it’s just a sad, sad situation,” Campbell told ABC after learning the death was a homicide.
Campbell said that he and his wife were just coming off the ferry from Liberty Island when they saw the boy.
“We assumed it was a doll, and then used our cell phones to zoom in on it and at that point we realized it was a baby,” he said. They called 911 and waited for several minutes but Campbell then decided to take action.
“I couldn’t take just sitting there, watching it float,” Campbell said. “So I handed the phone to my son and went out and retrieved Mason. We did a little CRP, but he had no pulse.”