, Salem, MA

November 24, 2011

Father indicted in shaken-baby case

By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

PEABODY — A Peabody man who allegedly admitted shaking and "head-butting" his infant daughter last month was indicted yesterday by an Essex County grand jury.

Richard Elias, 22, who had been living on Magnolia Way before his arrest, will face two counts of assault and battery on a child causing substantial bodily injury. He's expected to be arraigned within the next several weeks at Salem Superior Court.

The abuse took place on two occasions, prosecutors say.

The first incident, on Oct. 20, happened while Elias' wife was out picking up her older children from a prior relationship.

Elias later confessed to police that on that afternoon, he became frustrated with the then-5-week-old Isabella because she soiled a freshly changed diaper, prosecutors say.

He said he shook her while she was on the changing table, according to investigators.

The infant began suffering seizures, and her mother took her to a pediatrician and to the hospital, not knowing the reason for the seizures.

Nine days later, the mother went to a Halloween party, her first time out with friends since the birth of the baby.

Elias later told investigators that he was trying to play Xbox and drink beer but was disturbed by the infant's crying, so he head-butted her.

The baby almost immediately started suffering seizures. Elias allegedly ignored the advice of other online Xbox players to call 911.

Prosecutor Kate MacDougall said during a hearing last month that the infant suffered significant brain injury from bleeding, as well as eye damage.

A judge earlier this month called the allegations "horrifying" and ordered Elias held without bail.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis may be reached at 978-338-2521 or