Sascha Marie Garcia’s decision to leave 5-month-old “Baby Andres” with her boyfriend turned tragic.
On Thursday, the child was barely clinging to life at Miami Children’s Hospital, and Garcia’s boyfriend, Antwan James Sawyer, 27, was jailed on charges of child abuse.
“He’s got lung contusions, two black eyes. [Sawyer] said the child fell off the bed. It’s really bad,” said Miami-Dade police detective Robin Pinkard.
Several people familiar with Monday’s incident said the alleged beating so severely damaged the child’s brain that doctors don’t believe he will survive. Andres would be 6 months old on Sunday. He’s being cared for in the pediatric intensive care unit at Miami Children’s.
Friends and family members filled the waiting room Thursday afternoon, though only the child’s parents were allowed inside to visit.
Andres was hospitalized with severe brain injuries, a lung contusion, retinal hemorrhaging in both eyes and bruises to his buttocks — injuries so severe that they could not have come from falling out of a crib, doctors told police.
The injuries “are not consistent with the defendant’s statement and indicated the injuries were non-accidental,” according to Sawyer’s arrest report.
Andres’ father, 32-year-old Adolfo Bravo, has been at the hospital since Tuesday. He said doctors told him his son is brain dead, kept alive by life support.
“It’s a matter of hoping for the best,” he said. “But medically, it’s basically impossible.”
Bravo, who broke up with the child’s mother four months ago, described Andres as a happy baby. He said the two of them visited the Dandy Bear restaurant just last month.
“We had a blast, man,” he said.
Sawyer, who has a lengthy criminal history, was arrested by Miami-Dade Special Victims Unit detectives at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday. He was charged with aggravated child abuse. His bond was set at $10,000, and he was booked into the Turner Guilford Knight correction facility.
Wednesday’s arrest was at least Sawyer’s 10th since 2005. Past charges include trespassing, grand theft and cocaine possession throughout Miami-Dade. He was arrested by Miami-Dade police in 2010 and charged with aggravated assault with a weapon. In February, South Miami cops arrested him on marijuana possession.
A spokeswoman for the state’s Department of Children & Families said the agency is looking into the incident and that investigators had not received any calls concerning the family before the child suffered the injuries. Police said Sawyer’s charge is likely to be upgraded if the child dies.
Police said Sawyer lives in Broward County, but had been staying at Garcia’s South Miami area apartment with her and the child. Her Facebook page lists her work as a server at Flanigan’s Seafood Bar and Grill.
Police said they believe Garcia works as an exotic dancer at The Office, either in North Miami or Miami Gardens. The club’s manager wouldn’t confirm that Thursday.
The actions that led to the baby’s injuries were sketchy on Thursday. But police say they believe Garcia headed to work in the early evening on Monday, then returned home and found Andres with wounds to his head and lower body. Police said Sawyer then told her the child fell out of his crib.
The baby was taken to Miami Children’s, where doctors informed police they had little or no faith in Sawyer’s story. He was taken in for questioning by police and later arrested.
Garcia lives with Andres and Sawyer in a large, maze-like Japanese-themed apartment complex near South Miami called Jade Garden Apartments. A note was taped to her front door: “Coming right back for rest of things.”
A woman who lives directly below Garcia said she often sees her with Andres and with another toddler. The woman said she hears Garcia yelling at the kids, often cursing.
Bravo’s Facebook page was highlighted with a picture of a bright-eyed Andres on Thursday. The post was filled with dozens of comments, including, “God bless this little guy,” and “Prays for thiz lil guy, may God help his family.”
At the hospital, Bravo, dressed in a black Polo shirt and jean shorts, took a moment to compose himself. He said he ran to the hospital when Garcia told him his son was there, but he wasn’t aware of the extent of his injuries.
“I was going to stop by and visit him,” he said. “But I ended up never leaving.”