Hundreds gather to remember Middletown baby found dead in river - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Hundreds gather to remember Middletown baby found dead in river

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Middletown father charged with murder after baby's body found in CT river (WFSB/State, Middletown police) Middletown father charged with murder after baby's body found in CT river (WFSB/State, Middletown police)
Hundreds gathered to remember Middletown baby found dead in river (WFSB) Hundreds gathered to remember Middletown baby found dead in river (WFSB)
MIDDLETOWN, CT (WFSB) -

A father whom police said jumped from the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown after tossing his 7-month-old son in the water was charged with murder. 

Tony Moreno, 21, has been at the hospital since Sunday night, according to judicial officials. He was arraigned from his hospital bed on Tuesday morning, hospital officials said. 

In addition to being charged with murder, Moreno was also charged with violation of a restraining order.

On Wednesday evening, friends, family and well-wishers said they plan on gathering to remember a 7-month-old baby Aaden Moreno whom Tony Moreno told police he threw the baby from the Arrigoni Bridge early Monday morning. 

Court documents said Moreno's mother called police after he called her saying "Mom, come down to the Portland bridge and get my phone and the stroller so you have pictures of the baby."

Before that, he reportedly got into a heated text exchange with the baby's mother where he told her "Enjoy your new life without us."

Tony Moreno then attempted to commit suicide on Sunday night. However, crews were able to pull him from the water.

When officers arrived at the bridge, Moreno jumped off the Arrigoni Bridge before they could get to him. Police said Aaden was not with him when he jumped. There was an empty stroller located in the vicinity of where Moreno jumped.

He was taken to a local hospital where he was in serious condition.  Police said Moreno was turned over to the Department of Corrections on Wednesday.

When he regained consciousness, officials said he was cooperative and confirmed that he threw Aaden over the railing prior to officers arriving at the scene.

According to documents, family members who arrived at the scene before Moreno jumped said they just couldn't stop him.

His mother told detectives "When Tony saw the police officer walking towards him, he started to walk towards the Portland side of the bridge. He started to pick up speed and then out of the corner of my eye I saw him leap over the railing and fall to the water. I immediately ran to the stroller to check the baby, but the baby was not in it."

Moreno's brother Aaron Moreno told police "The next thing I remember was hearing my mom scream 'he jumped.' I got out of the car and jumped over the barrier onto the sidewalk and looked over the railing to look for my brother. I saw him in the water and started to to look for the baby. I ran up and down the sidewalk but couldn't find Aaden."

Since early Monday morning, police said several agencies had helped them search. They said they spared no resources as they combed the river.

Aaden Moreno’s body was found near the swing bridge in East Haddam almost two days later. Aaden was found at about 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday by a person in a canoe.

Just weeks ago, Aaden's mother, 19-year-old Adrianne Oyola, tried to obtain a restraining order against Tony Moreno. According to court officials, she said she feared he might do something to her baby. The order was rejected. 

According to a court transcript, the judge said he wasn't convinced that there was a continuous threat of present physical pain or physical injury. He then ordered them to work out a custody agreement.

Attorney Jeremy Donnelley said the pressure of being in front of the judge and the person they're seeking protection from can be overwhelming.

He said judges consider what is written in the application but need to see consistency at the hearing.

Chief Court Administrator Patrick L. Carroll III released a statement about it on Wednesday.

"The tragedy that occurred this past weekend has affected all of us, and on behalf of the Judicial Branch, I would like to extend our condolences to the family of Aaden Moreno.  While it would be inappropriate for me to comment directly on Judge Pinkus’ ruling, I believe that it is representative of the difficult decisions that judges must make each and every day.  These discretionary decisions are made after an assessment of the evidence that is presented and in accordance with applicable state law.  Yet even with a deliberative process, it is impossible for judges to predict the future with certainty."

Besides murder, Tony Moreno was charged with violation a restraining order. He is being held on $2 million bond.

To read the full arrest warrant, click here.

"Our community suffered an indescribable tragedy this week, one that we will never be able to make sense of," said Middletown Mayor Dan Drew.

Domestic violence advocates said 9,000 restraining order applications are filed each year but only 3,000 are granted. In the last year, records show Pinkus granted 13 while denying 16.

Eyewitness News learned that Aaden’s mother graduated from Middletown High School just two weeks ago. Officials said grief counselors will be available to help people cope with Aaden’s death.

On Wednesday evening, hundreds gathered in Middletown to remember the tiny victim who lost his life, and to support the child's mother.

Aaden's aunt Elizabeth Moreno read a letter written by Oyola at the vigil, that read in part "Everything I do from now on is for my son."

Oyola's former teacher Yolanda Hart said the 19-year-old is shattered by what happened. She said she is strong and showed her tenacity by returning to school after giving birth to Aaden and getting her degree.

"I'm sure she was doing it so she could better herself for the benefit of her son," Hart said.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with Aaden's funeral expenses. A link to it can be found here.

On Wednesday evening, the fund's goal of $15,000 had been exceeded.

Copyright 2015 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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