Search of Connecticut River for Missing 7-Month-Old's Body Resumes

Police are continuing to search for the body of a 7-month-old boy who they believe went into the Connecticut River when his suicidal father jumped off the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown late Sunday night.

The recovery mission resumed Tuesday morning, using boats, paddle boards and jet skies to search.

Police said the baby's father, Tony Moreno, 22, of Middletown, called someone threatening suicide before jumping into the river around 11:45 p.m. Sunday. That person dialed 911 and told officers Moreno's baby boy, Aaden, was crying in the background.

Officers rushed to the scene and saw Moreno jump. Middletown firefighters pulled him to shore and a LifeStar medical helicopter airlifted Moreno to the hospital, where he was initially listed in serious condition. Police said he was alert and conscious in the hospital as of Tuesday morning.

Police did not see Aaden with his father and searched the water for nearly 24 hours before calling that initial operation off.

"I’m hoping against hope that somebody will find that poor child," Tom Moreno, a relative, said.

Officials said there are challenges to searching the river, which changes courses. 

"It's very difficult. Visibility is very limited. You may have 1- or 2-foot visibility going in one direction you may have 0-visibility going in another direction," Middletown Fire Chief Robert Kronenberger said. "What you see on the surface, as far as a current, may not be what’s going on underneath. The current below the water could be a lot stronger than what’s on the surface."

State police issued a Silver Alert for the boy on Monday morning, but later said the chances of finding him alive are slim.

"The Middletown police department has been able to confirm that a 7-month-old listed as missing did enter the Connecticut River last night. The search for the 7-month-old boy is now classified as a recovery," Middletown police spokesman Lt. Heather Desmond said during a news conference Monday afternoon.

Moreno's condition, meanwhile, improved in the hospital. While he's conscious and alert, it's not clear if he told investigators what might have happened to his young son.

Police are still investigating but said they expect to file charges.

Community members gathered at the Middletown green on Monday evening to hold a candlelight vigil for Aaden and a Facebook group entitled "Help Find Aaden Moreno!!" has garnered the support of more than 1,500 people.

"Whatever condition he’s in. I hope he’s found and that the family can get peace within their hearts," Kiana Beamon, a family friend, said.

Aaden is 2 feet tall and weighs 23 pounds, according to the Silver Alert issued Monday. He was last seen wearing black pants and a black-and-white striped shirt with a picture of Mickey Mouse on the front.

"I’m praying for a miracle that Aaden will be found alive but also praying for the family and comfort for them however this tragedy turns out," Djuana Beamont, a family friend, said.

In Connecticut, police will issue a Silver Alert for any child who is missing, along with missing people over the age of 65 and any other missing people who might have a medical condition requiring treatment.

Connecticut State Police will issue an Amber Alert when there is an "absolute emergency" in which the life of a child is in danger.

Middletown police ask anyone with information on the baby's whereabouts to call the police department at 860-638-4000.

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