The mother of a missing 7-month-old Connecticut boy unsuccessfully sought a restraining order against the child's suicidal father, who police believe jumped with the baby into the Connecticut River late Sunday night.
A judge denied the restraining order days before Tony Moreno, 22, of Middletown, plunged into the water off Middletown's Arrigoni Bridge, possibly taking the baby with him.
First responders rescued Moreno and brought him to the hospital, but his young son, Aaden, is still missing.
According to documents filed in court, Aaden's mother applied for a restraining order after Moreno took the baby without her knowledge and threatened to make him "disappear."
"He has told me he could make my son disapear (sic) anytime of the day. He told me how he could make me disapear (sic) told me how he could kill me. I sometimes am scared to sleep," the mother said in a statement filed in court. "He told me he would put me in the ground and put something on me to make me disinigrate (sic) faster."
Aaden's mother lived with Moreno for two years and said the couple were happy until she got pregnant. According to court documents, Moreno became verbally abusive, calling her "ugly," "stupid" and shouting profanities, she alleged. The abuse turned physical when he pushed her and poked her chest and forehead.
Moreno also wanted to give up custody of the child and told Aaden's mother he would sign the paperwork if she paid for the documents and legal fees, she said in the statement.
The same day she applied for the restraining order, Aaden's mother contacted the state Department of Children and Families. An agency spokesman said DCF "conducted a complete safety assessment" and found she was "taking all appropriate and necessary steps to protect the baby."
A judge dismissed the restraining order on June 29.
Moreno jumped six days later.
Police began searching the river for Aaden on Sunday night. As they lost hope of finding him alive, the rescue effort became a mission to recover Aaden's body.
"The Department is respectful of victims of domestic violence and strives to avoid subjecting the victims to consequences flowing from the actions of perpetrators," DCF said in a statement Tuesday. "Accordingly, following a careful assessment that examines fully the safety of the child, the Department will not automatically seek to remove a child from a home where domestic violence is a concern if the custodial parent takes all required steps to protect the child from the non-custodial parent."
Authorities said they expect to file charges in connection with the case. It's not clear if Moreno has an attorney.
Middletown police ask anyone with information to call 860-638-4000.