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‘I did the right thing’: Parents charged after grandpa calls cops about crying 3-month-old shaken to death and left in woods

Damion Comager, Genevieve Comager, Ivana Paolozzi

Damion Comager, Genevieve Comager, Ivana Paolozzi (Images of parents CBS New York/screenshot, image of baby via Instagram)

When his son admitted shaking his infant daughter to the point where she’d turned cold and stiff over Memorial Day weekend, the baby’s grandfather said, it was clear what had to be done.

Donald Comager, 47, said he called the NYPD to ask for a wellbeing check on Sunday after his son, 23-year-old Damion Comager, told him that he shook his screaming 3-month-old daughter Genevieve Comager, went to sleep, and woke up to find that the baby was dead.

“I think it was an accident. I mean, I still had to say something. I couldn’t say nothing,” Donald Comager told CBS New York. “I asked him why, and he told me that he shook her and he laid her down because she was screaming, and he went to sleep because he was tired. He went to sleep, then woke up and she was stiff, she was cold.”

“My son, he might think I didn’t do the right thing. But I did the right thing,” he added.

The worst fears of investigators were confirmed when, around 10:30 p.m. on Sunday, the victim’s corpse was found discarded in a wooded area near West 161st Street and the Major Deegan Expressway, just minutes away from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

“On Sunday, May 28, 2023, at approximately 2024 hours, a 3-month-old female was discovered unconscious and unresponsive in a wooded area in the vicinity of W161 Street and Major Deegan Expressway. EMS pronounced the infant deceased at the scene,” police said. “The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME) will determine the cause of death. The investigation remains ongoing at this time.”

The NYPD confirmed to Law&Crime that the baby’s parents were arrested and charged around 8 p.m. on Monday. Damion Comager faces charges for murder, manslaughter and concealment of human corpse, but the baby’s 20-year-old mother also faces charges for her alleged role in a cover-up attempt. Ivana Paolozzi is charged with obstructing governmental administration and concealment of a human corpse.

More Law&Crime coverage: Couple arrested in ‘horror’ death of 3-year-old neglected so badly you could see his intestines, sheriff says

The couple had been staying at a transitional housing shelter on 1041 University Avenue, not far from where the victim was found. Those who had encountered the couple before said they seemed “pretty nice.” Photos posted on Instagram after Genevieve’s birth painted a picture of loving and proud parents.

The victim’s grandfather said that he spoke with his pastor and prayed after his son called him early Sunday morning and admitting killing Genevieve when she wouldn’t stop crying. The pastor encouraged the grandfather to do the right thing, even if it meant turning in his own son, Donald Comager said.

Besides the statements Damion Comager made to his father, Fox 5 NY reported, the suspect incriminated himself more when hauled out of the 44th precinct on Monday, Memorial Day, and into an NYPD car.

“I love my daughter. Iā€™m sorry. It was a mistake,” he allegedly said.

Donald Comager told the New York Post that his son was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia as a youth.

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Matt Naham is the Senior A.M. Editor of Law&Crime.