Baby of wanted Nigerian man dies after 7 months in US hospital

Parents of dead Nigerian baby Olalekan Olalusi and Arinola Olalusi

A baby who had been on life support since April, when his parents were arrested in the United States of America, has died and officials believe his father may have fled to Nigeria.

The Providence Journal reports 11-month-old Tobi Olawusi died Wednesday at Hasbro Children’s Hospital, Rhode Island.

Officials say his father, Olalekan Olawusi, apparently skipped bail. He’s charged with felony first-degree child abuse.

The baby was the subject of the newspaper’s investigation into procedures the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) uses to allow new-borns to go home when a parent’s competency is questioned.

His mother, Arinola Olawusi, pleaded not guilty to felony cruelty or child neglect.

Tobi arrived at the hospital by ambulance on April 3, three months old and clinically dead.

Doctors examining him found that he had suffered broken arms, 12 fractured ribs, broken right femur and was bleeding beneath a fractured skull. They also found a human bite mark on his left thigh.

Arinola delivered Tobi on December 23, 2016, at Kent Hospital. Hospital social workers placed a hold on releasing the baby, records show, because of the mother’s psychiatric history and the fact the DCYF had already taken away her older child in 2015.

Despite the warnings, DCYF caseworkers moved ahead with a so-called “safety plan” that would allow Arinola to take Tobi home.

The plan banned the mother from ever being alone with her new-born son. However, the only other person who lived in the house was Olalekan Olawusi, and he worked.

The mother, who is now out on bail, is facing charges of cruelty or neglect of a child.

Olalekan Olawusi had posted $40,000 surety bail weeks after his arrest. As a condition of his release, he was supposed to surrender his passport to the court.

But court spokesman Craig Berke said Thursday, “We don’t have the passport.”

“We typically rely on the lawyers as officers of the court to handle the surrendering of the passport,” said Berke.

Berke said the Providence police have told court officials they believe Olawusi is in Nigeria and are seeking his extradition. He missed an October 31 court date, and a warrant was soon issued for his arrest.

Records show that Olawusi had a court-appointed lawyer, who did not immediately respond Thursday to a voicemail or an email.

The state medical examiner’s office was scheduled to perform an autopsy on the baby on Thursday, said Police Major David Lapatin.

Based on that examination’s findings, Lapatin said, the police may possibly upgrade the charges against the parents.

If so, “we’ll go and make the arrest.” If it turns out the father has fled to Nigeria, “we will send for him or go get him,” said Lapatin. “This is not going to stop us.”