MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (AP) — A man whose infant son was found dead in the Connecticut River admitted tossing the boy from a bridge before jumping into the water below, police said Wednesday.
Tony Moreno was charged with murder in the death of 7-month-old Aaden Moreno.
Moreno exchanged angry text messages with the infant's increasingly frantic mother in the minutes before he jumped Sunday near midnight, according to court filings. "Enjoy your new life without us," Moreno wrote before texting, "He's dead."
Moreno, 21, was arraigned at Hartford Hospital, where he was treated after firefighters rescued him. His bail was set at $2 million. Moreno's public defender did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Police went to the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown on Sunday night after Moreno's mother called 911 to report that her son had called her from the bridge with his son and said he was going to jump. After officers arrived, they saw Moreno jump and found an empty baby stroller, but did not see the infant.
The body of Aaden Moreno was found Tuesday night near a bridge in East Haddam, south of where his father jumped, after an extensive search involving dive teams and helicopters.
Police said Moreno confessed on Monday after initially refusing to speak with a detective. But after the officer said police needed help finding the boy to give him a proper funeral, Moreno nodded yes when asked if he had dropped his son and started to cry, according to police documents.
The officer said he used a basketball analogy to ask how far the boy was thrown from the bridge's railing.
"Tony said that it was more like a free throw distance from the railing," the officer said.
The boy's mother, Adrianne Oyola, 19, filed for a restraining order last month against Moreno amid a bitter custody dispute. She said in the application that Moreno "has told me he could make my son disappear any time of the day. He told me how he could me disappear."
Superior Court Judge Barry Pinkus denied the request for a permanent restraining order, saying at a hearing on June 29 that the couple had a chaotic relationship but he was not convinced there was a "continuous threat" of physical injury.
Chief Court Administrator Patrick L. Carroll III said he would not comment directly on Pinkus' ruling but noted it reflects the difficult decisions that judges must make each day. He said even with a thorough assessment of the evidence, "it is impossible for judges to predict the future with certainty."
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and other officials attended a community vigil for the baby in Middletown on Wednesday night. People lit candles outside the South Green gazebo, and left stuffed animals and balloons.
The Middletown Press reports that Aaden's aunt read a letter prepared by his mother which said, "I lost my son, but I gained a guardian angel."
Mayor Daniel Drew told the gathering at South Congregational Church, "It's beyond our ability to express the magnitude of this loss or even to understand it."