Man held in Baby Chandler case is not the father
It turns out the the man being held in the death of a 6-month-old boy is not the baby's father.
Police Chief Shawn Heubusch confirmed minutes ago that Michael Senay is the father of Chandler Zuch.
A relative of Senay's provided The Batavian with a copy of a DNA test from the DNA Diagnostic Center in Erie County dated Dec. 8 that says Senay is the father with 99.99 percent probability.
Senay posted on Facebook this afternoon a statement that he was the father.
So far, he has declined interview requests.
Jeffrey Deats had Baby Chandler for an overnight visit this past weekend and according to his statement to police, he believed he was the father of the baby.
In the statement he said the mother, Michelle Zuch, alternately told him he was the father and not the father over a period of time, and eventually told him that she had the results back of a DNA test and that he, Deats, was the father. Deats, based on his statement, seemed to accept her claim and believed he was the father of Chandler.
Deats is being held on $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond on a charge of manslaughter, 2nd.
A preliminary hearing, known as a felony hearing, is scheduled for Dec. 24.
This morning at a press conference District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said there was no proof at this time that Deats intended harm or death, which is why Deats is charged with manslaughter, which presumes recklessness in the death of another person.
Senay, according to his Facebook page, lives in Orleans County and attended Pembroke High School.
UPDATE: The District Attorney's Office has issued the following statement;
"We have been informed that Paternity Test results were received today, establishing that Jeffrey Deats was not the father of the baby, Chandler Zuch. This has no effect on the legal proceedings."
Just unbelievable. The poor child never had a chance.
What would be her motive to let him believe he was the father when she knew he wasn't.......child support. Poor little guy was surrounded by some real winners.
Come on…her baby’s dead, a week before Christmas. Have some compassion.
They have compassion for the child, not for the adults in this child's, short, life.
I would appreciate it if you wouldn’t imply I have no compassion for the baby simply because I am capable of compassion for a young mother, and the entire family, who has to bury her dead baby for Christmas.
Julie, I don't think Raymond was implying anything towards you and the compassion you feel towards anyone involved. As for myself I do feel sorry for the mother. I also feel extremely pissed off that Chandlers life came to an end in what appears to be abuse by Deats. If it comes to be a terrible accident that caused his death than it will be that, a terrible accident. The whole situation seems very strange that she would lie about who the father is. I'm sure the truth will come out. But in the mean time a little boy is dead.
The mother needs to be charged with something too. Had she not lied in the first place as to who the dad was when there is actual physical proof that she knew 99.99% then none of this would have happened to begin with.
I don't know any of the principles involved in this tragedy, and I know nothing more than what has been reported. I haven't an inkling of the (obviously complex) relationships between mother, genetic father, assumed father and assumed father's mother- or any unnamed parties directly involved with the deceased. One can safely say that nothing that occurred prior to this child's demise lessens the sense of loss all who knew him are feeling- especially the child's mother. Telling a lie in and of itself is not a crime. Who knows for sure the mother did lie about who the father was, or if she did, why. No doubt a child's death under questionable circumstances is sufficiently disturbing to inspire a general emotional reaction. Is there a more productive way to channel such emotions than blaming and accusing?
Ok CM so I guess your ok with a mother who engages in behavior that endangers a child. And when her actions which eventually result in the death of the child we need to be polite because she is suffering a loss.
She had a chance on Sat to take Chandler home, when you read the article even this Jeff guy said the baby got hurt and the mother flipped out and had police here in Batavia meet her. But instead of taking the baby home she leaves him, and a few hours later he has passed.
According to the DA Jeff had NO paternity claim or court visitation, and another man came foreward with a DNA test who's results showed on Dec 8th that HE was the father.
IMHO if she wasn't telling this Jeff guy he was the father, and leaving her 6 month old in his care, despite the baby having been hurt within an hour of him taking custody. Then Chandler would be alive today.
Honestly I think the part that upsets people the most is not only the poor choices this mother made, but God, the fates, chance or whatever you want to believe in gave this mother a chance to remove this child from the situation. She didn't. So I think it's completely reasonable for people to angry and vent their opinions on it. Just like they have indicated that they feel that Jeff's mother should be charged for not calling sooner for medical intervention.
Since this is a forum designed to discus local news. And this is local news where would you suggest that people alternatively discuss or vent their frustration about this particular story. I think it's a pretty arrogant request to tell these people not to, or how to express themselves here. Don't they have the same rights as you to express themselves within the limits of Howard rules?
Because of facts revealed in other forums that the mother participated in my opinio is that she should be charged with endangerment and accessory to this. To not do so would be like giving a pass to other young mothers to engage in similarly reckless behavior that puts those children unable to decide for themselves at risk. Isn't the potential of saving one life like Chandler's worth doing this?
I didn't say I was okay with anything. My point, (apparently) unclearly made, pile-on frenzy reduces the poignant to Grand Guignol.
Oh so people discussing all the things about this case that don't add up is a grand puppet show to you? The what exactly is this forum for? If not for people to vent their frustration or make commentary on news items.
It seems to me that telling people what they should or shoudn't talk about because someone might get offended or good ettiquette might front on it is just plain idiotic. Whats the point in even having the forum if it's expected to be so proper that you can't express yourself. Her actions in leaving her son with a guy who is NOT the father, and is prone to violence, even after coming here to take him home less than a day before his death at the hands of this guy, because of suspected abuse? That is something worth bringing to light.
But I guess it's all a big puppet show (Grand Guignol) to you... SMH
Kyle, you need to align my comments with previous comments and not assume anything beyond the literal statement I made. Julie got 9 negative votes for advocating compassion. Where does that fit into a pretense of fair discussion? Our interchange is the only "discussion" on the whole page aside from Jack's reply to Julie.
Her comment wasn't really an advocation of compassion. It's tone was more a scolding which resulted in negative votes. As far as it fitting into a pretense of fair discussion, voting has nothing to do with the discussion and it's fairness. It is a separate tool entirely giving us an idea how those who dont participate in the discussion feel about those that are discussing.
Since when do we give voting much credibility.
Raymond responded to Julie so I dont know where you get the idea that we are the only ones participating in an interchange here, George also weighed in as to why he felt that compassion wasn't a priority here.
But again you were the one to characterize opposing opinions as blaming and accusatory when in fact they are legitimate questions. I didn't voice them at first but I felt from the beginning when more facts came forward that this mother engaged in behavior that put her child at risk, purposefully. I'm sure things will develop but from the many news outlets covering this it seems only her friends and relatives are blindly supportive while other seem to have very similar questions as I have.
I wont align your comments with anything. i will take them as they appear, maybe you should be a little more clear instead of using such verbosity. I dont know how in one post you can characterize things as a pile on mentality then the next say that there are only 2 of us interacting, kind of contradictory dont you think? I bet alot of people had to look up Grand Guignol so even understand what you were saying. In conversation try talking TO people instead of talking over their heads. What value is your part in the discussion of people have to look at what you wrote and scratch their head and ask themselves wtf does that mean?
As for me this is the last I will discuss this with you CM this is about the murder of a child in our community. Not about discussing people's online etiquette telling someone to curb their input because it might not be as compassiate as others would like is just peer pressure censorship and has no place here. It is as valid as telling someone to shut up because you disagree with them.
My feeling is this mother was accessory to her child's death due to her actions that put this child in danger. Using a child as a pawn between 2 men is not the type of behavior that should be encourage in any form or manner.
"My feeling is this mother was accessory to her child's death due to her actions that put this child in danger. "
Your 'feelings' are based on incomplete and second-hand information, Kyle. But I'm sure that won't inhibit your judgements and pronouncements. And by the way, as of yet, murder is not a charge that's been leveled in this case.
". . . maybe you should be a little more clear instead of using such verbosity."
What is second hand here? The police have the DNA test stating that this Michael is the father. And that the results of that DNA test were delivered on Dec 8th, So what reason is there to tell this Jeff that the child is his. Secondly why come from Tonowanda to Batavia and meet with police because she was concerned about Chandler losing a tooth under suspect circumstances. Yet hours before Chandler's death she still left him in the care of a man he was not related to, had to work a shift while having the child, and has a criminal record for violent behavior towards family and friends.
Seems a very clear case of child endangerment. As for describing it as murder... well thats my bad. It was a homicide and I have a habit of combining murder and homicide as the same thing. Either way id she hadn't given this man visitation because she was trying to convince him he was the father, then Chandler would still be alive today.
His charges are temporary, who know what the Grand Jury will indict him on. Its way to soon to tell after all it's still developing. They didn't lnow he wasn't the father until the real father came foreward and gave the DA proof that he wasn't. Hours after the press confrence.
So my feelings are mine based on what I choose to base them on, thats the thing about opinions Scott they don't have to be facts. Just like you have no clue what they are based on and assume they are on 2nd hand info and incomplete.
"What is second hand here?"
Your information is second-hand, Kyle. Unless you're officially involved in the investigation.
What I hear you saying Scott, is that nobody should comment on any news on this public forum unless they are a law enforcement officer deeply involved in any given case. Unless, of course its you.
Since I so strongly oppose your premise, here's my opinion.
It is murder. Law enforcement know this. The police charged him with manslaughter just to get him in custody. I take into account the reported injuries, the reported statement by Deats, the reported statement by his mother, the reported inference by the DA, and simple logic. When the complete autopsy results are reported the charges will be upgraded to murder.
Scott, now that obama is normalizing our relationship with Cuba, you may want to consider relocating there. The regime there also believes that any opinions expressed that do not agree with their own must be squashed.
"What I hear you saying Scott, is that nobody should comment on any news on this public forum unless they are a law enforcement officer deeply involved in any given case. Unless, of course its you."
You don't hear well, Bob. What I am saying is people should temper their judgements, especially when based on tentative, second-hand information. And that's including me. It's not a difficult concept. Except, perhaps, for those of the mob mentality.
"I take into account [. . .] the REPORTED statement by his mother. . ."
Yes, you take into account what's been reported -- i.e. second-hand information -- that is -- information you've obtained from sources not directly involved. (And incidentally, for the sake of clarity, to which mother were you refering here?)
"Scott, now that obama is normalizing our relationship with Cuba, you may want to consider relocating there. The regime there also believes that any opinions expressed that do not agree with their own must be squashed."
Of course you mean 'quashed', but you knew that. Not that you're making much sense here, and anyway it's a very silly way to argue, but I'm not quashing a damn thing; I'm inveighing against a rush to judgement and sloppy thinking.
Sorry you missed all this Scott. Edited for your review and approval.
And BTW Howard, we've had our differences in the past and may very well in the future. but I have to say 2 things. First, I thank you for factually reporting the news. Second, and just as importantly, I thank you for providing this forum in which we are not just allowed, but actually encouraged to express our opinions - right, wrong, or indifferent.
" He laid Chandler on the couch and said, 'Now, you go to sleep you god damn bastard,' and he turned around and went upstairs."
She went on, "when I looked at the baby, I knew something was wrong. He was breathing very slow, shallow and labored breaths. I was praying that he was going to be okay."
She said first that she didn't call for help because she was afraid what Jeff would do. That statement is scratched out and she said she was hoping the baby would calm down.
She said she called up to Jeff at 8:30 a.m. and Jeff told her to wake him up at 9:30 a.m.
When Jeff came down at 9:30, they noticed Chandler wasn't breathing, she said. Jeff apparently tried mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and Jacquelyn called 9-1-1.
"Before I left for the hospital, Jeff told me, 'you need to tell everyone that you were with me the entire time,' " she said.
In a second statement, Jacquelyn Deats said he had no knowledge of Chandler being dropped or anybody slipping and falling while holding him or of anybody falling down the stairs.
"Sorry you missed all this Scott."
I didn't miss it at all, Bob. I read it days ago. I do wonder what point you're trying to make.
Remember, you have to be able to prove intent to get a conviction on murder. There's nothing in the statements, if taken at face value, that even get close to intent.
Intent is hard to prove.
I can't imagine what evidence might turn up that is suddenly going to make this a murder case. I'm not ruling it out, just that I think it's highly unlikely.
Just like everyone else, I have my own visceral response to this case. But I'm appreciative of the cautionary tale of the "dingo ate my baby" case that Howard's brought forward a couple of times of late. Things are not always as they seem. The hierarchy of belief, knowledge, and truth can be very steep, precarious, and dangerous.
Despite my misuse of the murder definition earlier, I agree with Howard. The only way I see elevating the charge to murder is if somehow facts come to light that the mother told Jeff that afternoon that he wasn't the father and was allowing him to say goodbye. And then Jeff took rage over that out on Chandler.
I hope its not the case but other than that happening I dont see anything higher than manslaughter charge in this case. I still hold out hope for the mother to be charged with endangerment.
Its a sad fact that there are alot of women out there that play this shop for a babydaddy game. Making these mothers responsible for consequences such as what happened here might go a long ways to preventing some of this and maybe save a child or two's life.
Sorry Scott but the info isn't second hand as their statements have been released to the press. And the mother herself argued with about 15 people on facebook as well.
Oh well our definitions of 2nd hand are different. It looks like you call what Howard and other media outlets print as 2nd hand info. I disagree as I get the impression that unless he states otherwise Howard and the others report facts as they are known and communicated, saving his opinions for the forum.
"I can't imagine what evidence might turn up that is suddenly going to make this a murder case. I'm not ruling it out, just that I think it's highly unlikely."
Only the preliminary autopsy results are in. I believe that, with technology being what it is now, the final results will to prove that this was an intentional act IE: "shaken baby". Not just reckless as it is being termed now.
So Kyle, if Howard gets his info from the Chief of Police, and you get your information from Howard, and I get my information from you, who is the primary source of information? Who's the secondary source (the second-hand source of the information)? And who would become the tertiary source? There are original, primary sources, and secondary sources of information, and no dishonor -- or qualitative guarantees -- in either. As a rule of thumb, the closer you can get to an original source, the better. But that often is not possible, and thus we rely, with great caution, on our Fourth Estate secondary sources.
There's a reason prosecutors and medical experts don't talk about "shaken baby syndrome." There is no scientific basis for the theory.
So, first point is ... it would be impossible to prove shaken baby, because there is no such thing, scientifically speaking.
The fact of the lack of scientific basis has led to a conviction in Rochester to be thrown out.
But, second point, let's just say that further tests reveal that little Chandler was shaken, that still doesn't prove intent.
"I was just trying to get him to stop crying, not kill him," would be the obvious defense. There goes intent. There goes murder.
Kyle, everything we've reported in this case has been second hand. I was not in the room with Jeff and Chandler. I only have his statements and his mother's statements. That's why we attribute statements to the source.
If we report, "Steve said the sun was yellow that day." We're not reporting that the sun was yellow that day. We're reporting that a person made that claim. We are completely and utterly in the dark as to whether Steve is telling the truth.
It's the same thing with arrest reports. We report, "The police say Steve stole merchandise from Walmart." We have no idea, really, if the police are telling the truth. We only know what the police told us, not what actually happened.
We make no claim to saying X happened, only that so-and-so said X happened.
(There are times, of course, when I might be a first hand witness to something -- if I see smoke billowing from the house, I might write, "Smoke was billowing from the house." Then you can make your own mind up as to whether I'm telling the truth, but we're not responsible for the truth or validity of claims made by others that we have no way of verifying.)
Howard, please note that I had put "shaken baby" in quotes. The DA had already explained that this is not a term used in the medical or legal communities.
I do believe however that medical science will be able to determine that Chandler's brain injuries were not the result of a fall down the stairs.
As far as "I didn't mean to" being used as a defense, of course it can/will/has been used - sometimes successfully, sometimes not.
Given your post, how do you explain away the past murder convictions of murder in similar cases?
I stand by my belief that the charges will be upgraded. Only time will tell.
"Given your post, how do you explain away the past murder convictions of murder in similar cases?"
I have no idea what cases you're talking about.
We don't know how the injuries occurred. We don't know that there was a fall down the stairs. Even if somehow physical evidence turns up that shows a deliberate act, a deliberate act does not equal murder. A deliberate act can also be reckless.
Getting in your car and driving with a BAC of .18 is a deliberate act. You hit another car and kill the driver of that car, you committed a deliberate act to drive drunk, but your intent wasn't to kill the other person. Your intent was to drive home and sleep it off. Drunken drivers being charged with murder is not unheard of, but it's an exceptionally hard charge to prove.
Here, Dr. Robert Sege, a professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine and the director of the division of ambulatory pediatricss at Boston Medical Center makes the point that just because convictions have been overturned in such cases, it doesn’t mean that children can’t be shaken so fiercely that their head traumas ultimately cause their death:
The recent NPR series on the legal aspects of infant deaths due to abusive head trauma may have left listeners with the misleading impression that there is controversy concerning the existence of abusive head trauma and infants. While there are a number of important issues regarding the identification of infant homicide victims, and their murderers, the sad fact is that this condition still occurs far too frequently in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 500 infants are murdered in the United States each year. The majority of these infants die of abusive head trauma. In fact, according to government statistics, two thirds of all child abuse related fatalities occur in the first year of life. Infants, of course, cannot speak for themselves. Physicians carefully examine infants with signs of trauma. Through medical and epidemiologic research, confessions, and animal research, a picture of abusive head trauma has emerged. Infants with abusive head trauma may die as a result of bleeding inside the skull or of direct brain damage from the injury. They may have bleeding behind the eyes, and other signs of trauma. As we constantly work to better understand-and prevent-this sad situation, we should not allow controversies that arise during judicial proceedings cloud the picture of the tragic deaths of American infants
Thank you Howard I will make sure to alter my comments from here on out to specify claims rather than what I have been doing. However (I'm not sure on this) But officials do have to watch what they relate and release to the public, dont they? I know you are careful of what you print but yes I see that it's all 2nd hand.
I still stand by my stated opinions though, until such time that facts are revealed that counter that stand. I still think that had the mother not been trying to convince Jeff he was the father and allowing him overnight visit then Chandler wouldn't have been in danger. Her coming back to attempt to take him back after Sat afternoon's incident just makes it more questionable.
Thats where my opinion lies at this point in this issue. Charge the mother and investigate the facts on her side of the issue to get to the bottom of all this.
Bob, you should give attribution to sources from which you copy and paste. It's considered good manners.
Kyle wrote, " But officials do have to watch what they relate and release to the public, dont they?"
No, in a word.
I'm quite certain that both DA Friedman and PD Ader would much prefer the media not have gotten access to the statements to police in this case, but under NYS law, they are public record. They can't be withheld. Watch the video and how careful Friedman is in what he says, and even cites NYS bar guidelines on discussing defendant statements. Those are ethical guidelines, not the law, but Friedman has always been very careful about following those guidelines.
One thing that's been interesting to me about this case is, from reading comments here and on FB, is how differently people interpret things.
There are statements and actions that I see interpretations for that run counter to how other people are reading things.
There are things I find particularly damning of a couple of individuals that have been completely missed or glossed over by commentators. There are other things that get glommed onto that I find fairly insignificant.
Everybody sees things differently, which is what makes law so tricky and interesting, and juries so often so hard to predict.