‘Then the crying stopped’: Father allegedly walks into pond with infant son, drowning him as crowd watches
Like James Stewart in Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Robert Amstadt watched the atrocity from his Milwaukee apartment in horror.
It was “the most evil thing I’ve ever seen,” he later told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Amstadt had heard the telltale signs of a domestic disturbance - voices rising in heated, passionate argument - around 8.45pm Saturday night. It was like any other fight between lovers, until he heard a woman scream: “Give me back my baby.”
Curious, he rushed to the window only to find his view obscured by a patch of trees lining the large pond that residents of both complexes enjoyed. Before Amstadt turned away, a man carrying an infant walked out from between the trees and continued down an asphalt path toward the water.
A cluster of people followed the man in a bewildering parade, yelling: “Don’t go in the water.”
“It was a hornet’s nest of people moving around . . . crying and screaming,” Amstadt told the Journal Sentinel.
Still, he didn’t call the police - he just watched until something strange happened.
One of the crowd members stepped forward and grabbed the bawling baby’s arm. The man with the infant yanked it back and began bee-lining directly to the pond. Amstadt called 911.
The man holding the baby reached the water’s edge while Amstadt was on the phone.
“He just walked into the water with the baby,” Amstadt told the emergency dispatcher.
The 185cm-tall, 90kg man “didn’t try to hold the baby up” but kept it firmly underwater as the water rose to his chest.
“That baby cried all the way out into the water,” Amstadt said. “Then the crying stopped.”
It might have seemed almost like a baptism if the crowd members hadn’t been screaming, “He’s drowning the baby.”
With the baby firmly underwater and out of sight, someone finally sprang into action.
Joey Griffin, a member of the throng of onlookers, splashed into the water.
“Without thinking - I just ran into the water,” Griffin told WITI. “I yelled at him ‘where’s the baby? Where’s the baby?’”
He noticed its tiny, limp body floating a couple of metres from the man.
“I grabbed it. I tried to swim away with it,” Griffin said. “He lunged at me and took the baby again and swam further, deeper.”
By the time police and the Milwaukee Fire Department arrived at the pond, the man was no longer holding him. Some of the responders dove into the water, and found the baby’s body. Others arrested the man, who was still standing in the water.
Firefighters attempted to revive the child to no avail. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
The baby’s named was Sean A. Flowers III.
He was born on April 18. He died on Saturday, July 30.
The man they arrested was Sean A. Flowers Jr, the baby’s father, police announced Monday. Police say he drowned the baby after getting in a fight with the child’s mother, according to WISN.
Flowers Jr, being held on US$150,000 bail at the Milwaukee County Jail, according to the jail’s website. The Journal Sentinel reported, “Police have referred the case to prosecutors, who are expected to consider possible homicide charges this week.”
“We all lost. We all lost this one,” Griffin said. “No matter what you do, no matter how hard you try, sometimes you just lose. No matter how hard you try. You just wish you could’ve did more.”