Search for body of 7-month-old ends for the night - WFSB 3 Connecticut


Search for body of 7-month-old ends for the night

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Aaden Moreno. (WFSB/state police photo) Aaden Moreno. (WFSB/state police photo)
Aaden Moreno. (State police photo) Aaden Moreno. (State police photo)
(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

Middletown police said a recovery effort is underway in the Connecticut River after a 7-month-old child went missing when they said his father jumped from the Arrigoni Bridge.

Police said Tony Moreno, 21, jumped from the bridge after police received a call that he was there, possibly with his son, 7-month-old Aaden.

A Silver Alert was issued on Monday for the baby.

State police said Aaden has black hair, brown eyes, is 28 inches tall and weighs 23 pounds. He was wearing a white Mickey Mouse shirt with black stripes and black pants.

On Monday afternoon police said the baby did enter the river and now a recovery effort is underway.

"We are looking everywhere," said Lt. Heather Desmond, Middletown police. "We have done tracks with our canine from the father's home to here. We are checking the wooded area. Any place that child may be, we're searching for that child."

According to police, the call came in around 11:45 p.m. on Sunday. The person who made the call was on the phone with Moreno when they heard a baby crying in the background of the phone call.

Officers were told the elder Moreno might have a baby with him on the bridge. They said they observed Moreno jump into the Connecticut river, but did not see the child with him.

"The officer was there at the time the father went over the side of the bridge," Desmond confirmed. 

Police are investigating if Moreno walked 20 minutes to the bridge from his Schulyer Avenue home.

A stroller was seen at the front door of the home and nobody was home on Monday but neighbors said just two weeks ago police were called to the home and spoke with Moreno and another woman.

"Two weeks ago, he was wheeling the baby back and forth in the carriage in the yard," said neighbor Pat Taylor. "He seemed to be a very quiet type of person."

People who frequent the park said the ongoing search has been unnerving.

"I have a 4-year-old granddaughter so I'm absolutely shocked," said Robert Robinson of Middletown. "I mean, to think that it's possible that somebody perhaps in committing suicide would take a child with them is just, I can't even get my mind around that."

Search teams and divers from Middletown, Portland and state police are involved in the search.

"The search for the child is being continued by the Middletown Police Department, Connecticut State Police, Middletown Fire Department, Middletown South District Fire Department and Portland Fire Department," said Capt. Sean Moriarty, Middletown police. "We're contacting known associates of the suicidal male to see if the child was left in the care of another person." 

Moreno was pulled from the water and transported to Hartford Hospital by the Life Star emergency helicopter. Police said he is in stable condition. Police also said charges are forthcoming. 

"I'm just shocked. He is a good kid. I don't know what was troubling him," said neighbor Dan Clark.

On Monday evening, about 100 people gathered on the Middletown Town Green for a prayer vigil.

"It does make it a little bit easier knowing there's other people that have hope and are praying along with me," said Kiana Beamon who is a friend of the family.

Tom Marino, the baby's grand-uncle, said his entire family is in a state of shock.

"Guess we just take it one day at a time, that's all we can do at this point," Marino said. "I just don't understand how this could happen."

Police would not comment on whether Moreno had a history of mental illness.

Online records show the baby's parents were involved in a custody dispute shortly before Moreno jumped.

They also said one eastbound lane across the bridge and Harbor Drive in Middletown are closed as a result of the search. 

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