A Fort Drum, N.Y., soldier held in the death of an infant has been indicted by a St. Lawrence County grand jury, the Watertown Daily Times reported.
Pfc. Gary L. McKenzie II, 22, of Gouverneur, N.Y., was reportedly indicted Sept. 12 on four counts, including second-degree murder, a class A-1 felony.
McKenzie is accused of throwing 7-month-old Braylin W. Chambers to the floor forcibly, causing an inoperable brain injury including hemorrhaging, before dawn on July 16, according to the Watertown Daily Times.
McKenzie reportedly told state police that he attempted CPR on the infant, who was placed on life support and was pronounced dead hours later at a local hospital.
The indictment, according to the Watertown Daily Times, said the infant died due to McKenzie’s “shaking Braylin, or slamming or throwing Braylin so as to impact Braylin’s head on a hard surface or object.” The baby’s injuries were inflicted “with significant force” and did not appear to have been accidental, a doctor reportedly testified in a preliminary hearing.
McKenzie is also reportedly charged with second-degree manslaughter, a class C felony; reckless assault of a child, a class D felony; and endangering the welfare of a child, a class A misdemeanor.
McKenzie is in a relationship with the baby’s mother but is not the baby’s father, the newspaper reported. Police reportedly said the mother was at work at the time of the incident and met first responders at a hospital where the child was taken.
McKenzie is being held in St. Lawrence County jail, with bail set at $50,000 cash or $100,000 bond.
McKenzie is a petroleum supply specialist in A Company of the 710th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, Fort Drum’s public affairs office told the Watertown Daily Times.
The Army has experienced a spate of child abuse deaths over the past decade. Between 2009 and 2012, 118 children were killed in Army homes, according to an Army Times investigation.