The family of 13-month-old Madison Reid spent an emotional day in court on Thursday as the man accused of causing her death was arraigned.
Madison’s mother and grandparents said they want answers about how the little girl died. They also said they want justice for a baby who will never grow up to go to kindergarten, never mind the prom.
Michael A. Rios, 22, of Norwich, was charged with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a minor in connection with Madison’s death and released after posting bond earlier this month.
Rios was dating Madison’s mother and had been babysitting the little girl when she sustained injuries that turned out to be fatal, according to court paperwork.
“I just want justice for my granddaughter,” Kate Berkman, Madison’s grandmother, said. “The fact that he is staying with his parents and that he is allowed to be driving around, and having myself and my family seeing him driving around is not right.“
Dr. Lawrence Eric Berkman, Madison’s grandfather, said the family is not looking for retribution or revenge, but they want justice and to know what happened to the little girl.
“Our families beg for the truth,” he said on Thursday, looking over at Rios.
When Rios brought Madison to William W. Backus Hospital on May 2, he told staff she fell off the bed, according to the affidavit.
He also said he would throw her into the air and catch her under her arms to make her laugh and drop her onto a bed, according to court paperwork.
He also said he’d set the baby on the sink in the bathroom and she fell and hit her head, according to officials.
Madison’s death was ruled a homicide and the medical examiner determined that she suffered from a subdural hematoma to the left side of the brain, a hematoma to the spinal cord, hemorrhaging on both optic nerves and mouth contusions.
“He's told four stories and none of them … the doctor at Children's Hospital said none of those stories are true,” Colleen Reid, Madison’s grandmother, said.
She said she will never get to see her granddaughter go to kindergarten, soccer games, prom or her wedding.
“He has his life and Madison doesn't have any life at all,” Colleen Reid said. “Madison is gone. And they can't fix this at all. Nobody can fix this for Madison. … It would be better if he admitted it so we could know what happened to her.“
Elizabeth Reid, Madison’s mother, said she felt like she was going to be sick when she saw Rios.
“Nothing that the court can say is gonna bring my baby back,” she said. “If he told me the truth it would help a lot. I just want to know what really happened. “
Attorney Christopher Morano, who is representing Rios, said his client feels awful. He loved Madison, loved her mother and knows that she is going through incredible pain, Morano said.
The investigation was quick and Rios was arrested within 48 hours, he said.
“I am very concerned that the investigation here was very, very quick. Child fatalities of this type are very, very complex,” Morano said.
Rios has no prior criminal history and was scheduled to go into the Air Force the Monday after being arrested, according to his attorney, who said he hopes the process will lead to the truth.
Rios was charged with first-degree manslaughter and risk of injury to a minor and released after posting a $100,000 surety bond.
The case has been transferred to another court for a hearing on June 3. The judge decided not to raise the bond because another judge set it.