Baby on life-support after dad tries to muffle her cries - FOX 32 News Chicago

Baby on life-support after dad tries to muffle her cries

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Angela Petrov, 21, and Rodrigo Rodriguez, 29. Angela Petrov, 21, and Rodrigo Rodriguez, 29.
CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

A five-month-old girl is on life support after her father covered her mouth repeatedly Thursday to stop her from crying before having sex with the girl's mother, authorities said.

Doctors also noticed older skull fractures while examining the daughter of Rodrigo Rodriguez, 29, and Angela Petrov, 21, of Chicago's West Rogers Park neighborhood, Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Stephanie Buck said during a hearing in bond court on Sunday.

Buck told Cook County Judge James Brown the couple was drinking Hennessy in the room where their daughter was sleeping in her playpen and the girl began to cry. The judge crossed his arms and shook his head as Buck explained what happened next, and he ordered both parents — each charged with aggravated battery of a child — held in lieu of $5 million bail during separate hearings.

But Rodriguez's mother, Crucita Rivera, said after her son's bond hearing the allegations against him aren't true. She said he suffers from bi-polar disorder.

"He would never do that," Rivera said.

But prosecutors offered a different story in court, saying the couple is responsible for the injuries so severe it left the infant with little brain activity.

On Thursday night the family was at their home in the 2500 block of West Fitch and Petrov picked up the crying baby and gave her a bottle, authorities said. But the girl's cries continued, so Rodriguez took her from Petrov and put the girl on a bed, Buck, with the prosecutor's office, said in court.

Rodriguez then put his hand over the girl's mouth to stop her from crying, Buck said. The crying stopped, and he removed his hand, but it started again, authorities said. So Rodriguez put his hand over his baby's mouth a second time, Buck told the court.

Again the crying stopped, Buck said, and Rodriguez removed his hand. But the little girl only gasped for air and began to cry once more. That's when Buck said Rodriguez put his hand over the girl's mouth a third time until she stopped crying and her body went limp, authorities alleged.

Petrov was present each time he did this, Buck said, saw the baby go limp and did nothing. Buck said Rodriguez put the baby back in her playpen, and then the couple had sex and went to sleep.

Around 7 a.m., Buck said, Petrov got up to get another child in the home ready for school, and then she went back to sleep. Rivera said there are three children in the home, and two belong to Rodriguez.

Both parents got up around 11 am. and finally noticed their baby "stiff and unresponsive in the playpen," Buck told the court.

The couple tried throwing water on the girl's face and doing CPR, Buck said, and Petrov called 911. The girl was initially taken to Saint Francis Hospital before she was transferred to the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. She suffered a "blown pupil" as a result of brain swelling, according to prosecutors.

The couple was arrested later Friday.

Buck said the couple gave inconsistent stories to hospital personnel. Rodriguez, who also goes by the name "Rico" and has the words "Trust None" tattooed on his lower left arm, admitted to police he put his hand over the girl's mouth numerous times to get her to stop crying, according to the prosecutor.

Petrov admitted to police she saw Rodriguez put his hand over the girl's mouth three times, Buck said. She also admitted she sat in a chair and watched.Medical personnel said the girl's injuries are consistent with a hand being placed over her mouth, Buck said.

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