CALGARY — An 18-year-old Calgary mother has been charged with murder in the death of her 26-day-old son.
Daniel Herchak died Aug. 9 after being admitted to Alberta Children’s Hospital. Shelby Anna Herchak, was charged Wednesday with second-degree murder.
“An autopsy determined the cause of death was blunt-force trauma to the head. The injuries are believed to be non-accidental in nature,” said acting Insp. Doug Andrus of the Calgary Police Service major crimes unit.
“We believe the injuries were caused by one or more impacts with a solid object or against a solid object.”
There were no witnesses to the incident, Andrus said, but Shelby Herchak’s mother and father were in the home at the time.
It was her mother who called paramedics to report that the infant was hurt.
An ambulance rushed the baby to hospital. Because of the nature of his injuries, hospital staff contacted the child abuse unit, which then contacted the homicide unit. Police have indicated Daniel’s father is not a suspect because he was estranged from the baby’s mother and was not involved in raising the child.
Dealing with the death of a child is difficult, even for seasoned homicide investigators, said Andrus.
“As with any homicide they’re a priority of our investigators however they tend to strike a personal chord. Some of our investigators have children of their own.”
Andrus confirmed that police did investigate claims on Facebook that Herchak had been out at the bar the night before her son died.
“What I can tell you is Facebook is one of the avenues we did cover off. It is known she had been drinking in the prior 24 hours but whether that played a role in this incident I can’t speculate,” he said.
Word of the murder charge prompted a flurry of angry comments on the Facebook page “In Memory Of Baby Daniel Wayne Herchak”.