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Detroit Free Press

Baby mauled to death by his family's pit bull

11-month-old boy's dad shoots, kills dog in Eastpointe

BY CHRISTINA HALL • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER • April 23, 2009

Neighbors of an Eastpointe couple say the pair should be planning the first birthday of the son they didn't think they could have.

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Instead, they will be planning the 11-month-old's funeral.

The boy, whom police declined to identify, was mauled by the family pit bull inside his home on the 22000 block of Nevada about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday. The boy was taken to St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, where he was pronounced dead on arrival, Eastpointe police Lt. Darrell Corsi said. Police also declined to name the parents.

Neighbor Ron Baumgartner, 57, said he was home when he saw the police speed up to the house.

"I saw her with her head in her hands, going berserk," he said of the child's mother. He added that she stood on the porch and screamed, "The dog got the baby by the head, by the head!"

Baumgartner said the child's father appeared to be "in shock" and couldn't say anything.

Corsi did not have full details about the mauling, but said the child's father shot the dog with a handgun during or after the attack, and that the dog was dead when officers arrived.

The dog was taken to the Macomb County Animal Shelter to be held as evidence.

The case remains under investigation, and the child's parents are not in custody at this time, Corsi said. The case will be reviewed by the Macomb County Prosecutor's Office.

Baumgartner, who has lived in the neighborhood for 20 years, said the couple -- whom many neighbors said they knew as only Earl and Felicia -- rented the house a little more than a year ago.

He and other neighbors said the couple were told they couldn't have children, so they were excited when they learned Felicia was pregnant.

"It was a miracle child," he said.

"They were so happy. ... They passed out cigars when the baby was born," said Paula Goulet, who lives across the street from the family.

Of the couple, Baumgartner said, "They watched that kid like a hawk. I can't believe that dog got near that child."

Contact CHRISTINA HALL: 586-826-7265 or chall@freepress.com.




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