Disturbing details surrounding the death of an 11-month-old Brooklyn baby: According to the Daily News, the parents put "their 8-year-old son in charge of four younger siblings"—ages 6, 3, 2 and the baby, Major Gonzalez—while they went shopping 11 miles away at the Target in Queens.
When Denise Gonzalez, 29, and Rafael Colon, 43, arrived home, the baby had a bruise on his head and had difficulty breathing; he later died at Brookdale Hospital. Now that they are charged with endangering the welfare of a child—and may have the charges raised, pending an investigation—their lawyers are claiming their clients are innocent: "Defense lawyer Arleen Ralph said Gonzalez had 'a lapse of judgment.' She said Gonzalez, who doesn't drive, didn't think Colon could buy diapers and toys on his own. Colon's lawyer, Bob Orlando, claimed that Colon left before his wife and did not know that she had failed to get someone more responsible to watch the kids."
The other children were removed by ACS. Gonzalez, who has 10 children (some in foster care), has reportedly been "previously investigated" by the ACS and NJ's Division of Youth and Family Services. And Maimonides' chairman of pediatric medicine told the News, "You need someone to take care of an 8-year-old, not have an 8-year-old take care of someone."