McMechen man charged in death of his 3-month-old baby


MCMECHEN, W.Va. (WTRF) – One man is facing serious charges stemming from the death of his son. It all happened at a home on 8th street in McMechen.

Those involved describe the situation as disturbing, and horrific. Officials are calling it the worst they’ve ever seen.

McMechen Police Chief Don Dewitt said a 911 call came in around 9:30 on November 19 for a three- month- old who had thrown up, and went limp.

Upon arrival, we did observe an unresponsive child. The child appeared lifeless at the time, limp. Luckily, deputy Nate Klempa was first on scene. He immediately began CPR and was able to get a pulse.

Chief Don Dewitt, McMechen Police

They observed a red mark around the baby’s neck, showing signs of what they thought was strangulation.

The father, Daniel Messner, was home at the time of the incident.

Shortly after a pulse was found, they transported the child to Wheeling Hospital, but due to the severity, he was transported to Ruby Memorial.

From Ruby Memorial Hospital, we got medical records from them early that showed that the cause of death was a traumatic brain injury. Non accidental trauma.

Chief Don Dewitt, McMechen Police

Records state the baby had new and old brain bleeds and multiple retinal hemorrhages; all signs of Shaken Baby Syndrome.

Messner claims the child’s head “may have hit a table” while moving him from the couch, but the report says the brain injury stemmed from non-accidental trauma.

The crime itself is shocking and horrific. There’s obviously regret. It’s just an emotional scene that I don’t care to think about really.

Chief Don Dewitt, McMechen Police

The child passed away three days later on November 21.

Dr. Dower, one of the doctors who treated the child, said the case was “the most violent case of Shaken Baby he’s ever seen,” causing the child’s near instantaneous death.

It’s deeply affected everyone that’s came in contact with this case. When a three-month-old loses his life due to an act of violence, it’s just awful for everyone that’s involved—the families, the officers, the first responders, the physicians, the nurses. It’s just horrific for everybody all the way around.

Chief Don Dewitt, McMechen Police

According to a criminal complaint, Messner admitted to shaking the baby and indicated he made a mistake on December 3.

He was arrested Tuesday night for death of a child by parent and was taken to Northern Regional Jail with a cash only bond set at $500,000.

Stay with 7News as we continue to follow this story.

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