A Damascus dad was indicted Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and first-degree child abuse in the death of his 3-year-old adopted son.
A grand jury determined there’s enough evidence to move forward with charges against Brian P. O’Callaghan, 36, whose son Hyunsu died Feb. 3 at Children’s National Medical Center.
The state medical examiner’s office ruled the boy’s death a homicide by multiple blunt impact injuries.
Court records provide different accounts of what led to the death of Hyunsu, the little boy the O’Callaghan family adopted from Korea.
O’Callaghan told detectives that he was caring for Hyunsu and his biological son on Jan. 31, according to charging documents filed in Montgomery County District Court.
According to O’Callaghan’s account, Hyunsu slipped and fell backward in the tub, hitting his shoulder. He said the boy needed help showering because Hyunsu did not like the water hitting him.
The boy got upset and began crying during the shower, resulting in the slip and fall. O’Callaghan said he consoled his son and put him to bed without incident, according to the charging documents.
The next day, O’Callaghan and the boys went to breakfast and then went the Germantown Swim Center and Hyunsu took a nap when they got home.
O’Callaghan told police that he checked on the boy and found him unresponsive, with mucus on his nose and bodily fluids staining the bedding. He was also vomiting.
O’Callaghan drove the boy to a Germantown emergency room.
Hyunsu was eventually transferred to Children’s National Medical Center, where he died.
Doctors told police that O’Callaghan wasn’t able to provide an explanation for what caused the severe injuries they found.
Medical tests determined the boy had bleeding in the brain and hemorrhaging in his eyes, findings doctors said support the boy had been recently beaten, according to charging documents.
An autopsy found a skull fracture and bleeding on the front and back of the brain, with multiple impacts to the head. The autopsy found “multiple contusions consistent with impact trauma,” according to police.
O’Callaghan was arrested on Feb. 16 and is being held without bail.
The indictment isn’t a finding of guilt, but is instead a formal charge.
O’Callaghan’s attorney was not immediately available for comment Thursday.
First-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, a spokesman for the state’s attorney’s office said in an email.