The New York City man who fled to Thailand after his baby was discovered dead and floating near the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday has been returned by police to New York to face charges in connection with the death.
James Currie, 37, of the Bronx, was arraigned Friday morning in Manhattan Criminal Court on the charge of concealing a corpse and ordered held without bail for grand jury action by Judge Suzanne Adams.
Shawn McMahan, an assistant New York County district attorney, told the court that there was “essentially irrefutable proof the defendant threw his infant son into the East River.”
Currie did not enter a plea to the charge, and did not ask for bail, but his lawyer, Norman Williams, told reporters afterward that “everybody needs to keep an open mind and not convict this man until there is evidence that he did something wrong.”
Earlier Friday morning, NYPD detectives investigating the case booked, fingerprinted and photographed Currie at the Fifth Precinct in lower Manhattan. Around 10:30 a.m., he was walked by police out of the precinct in a white Tyvek suit, after police seized his clothes for evidence.
As he was walked out of the precinct to a waiting police car for transportation to court, reporters shouted out questions to him, but Currie kept his head down and shuffled to the police car, before being slowly guided into the back seat by detectives.
According to the criminal complaint against Currie, obtained by Oxygen.com, he is accused of carrying his dead son, 7-month-old Mason Saldana, out of his apartment on Sunday, before depositing him in the waters of the East River shortly after 3 p.m.
A trail of electronic evidence, in the form of recorded transactions on his New York City transit Metrocard, document his travel by bus and subway from the Bronx to lower Manhattan and back on Sunday, just before his son was found floating in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge, the complaint alleges.
A tourist from Oklahoma on vacation with his family, Monte Campbell, spotted the baby boy shortly after 4 p.m. and pulled him from the water, as previously reported by Oxygen.com. Efforts to revive the boy were unsuccessful.
“Very shortly afterwards,” McMahon, the prosecutor, said Currie “planned a trip taking three flights, ending up literally on the other side side of the world.”
Currie boarded a plane to Thailand, Dermot Shea, NYPD Chief of Detectives, said during a Wednesday news conference at police headquarters. He was not allowed to enter the country, Shea said, and was held pending his return to New York, which was carried out Thursday.
Shea said Wednesday that the Medical Examiner’s Office had yet to determine the cause of the baby’s death and that additional testing was necessary. “So there is a possibility that these charges, as we go forward, could be upgraded.”
Police attention focused on Currie, Shea said, after the baby’s mother called 911 on Monday to report Currie for violating the terms of their joint parental custody order, and keeping their baby longer than the order allows.
According to the complaint against Currie, the baby’s mother -- who is identified in the complaint as only an “informant” -- received texts from Currie on August 8 saying that he was not in the United States and “the good news [is] we will never see each other again.”
When asked where their baby’s was, Currie replied “you will never see Mason again,” according to the complaint.
A grand jury will now decide what charges, if any, Currie will face.
[Photo: JB Nicholas]
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