LOCKPORT – Nearly 10 months after the death of his 6-month-old son, a Royalton father was charged Monday with causing the baby's death.
Dillon Hossbach, 25, pleaded not guilty in Niagara County Court to an indictment accusing him of second-degree murder and first- and second-degree manslaughter.
His infant son, William D. Hossbach, who according to his obituary was called "Liam" by the family, was reported not breathing and unresponsive shortly after 11 a.m. Feb. 21 in Hossbach's home at 8455 Rochester Road.
Capt. Bruce A. Elliott of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office said the baby's death was "trauma-induced," although he and Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma wouldn't give details.
Elliott said he would not characterize the case as a beating, however.
Deputies and Gasport volunteer firefighters performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the baby for a couple of hours, without success.
With aid from Medina firefighters in the ambulance, efforts to save William's life continued, but he was pronounced dead at Medina Memorial Hospital.
Court papers said Hossbach called 911 at 11:14 a.m. and told a dispatcher that the baby had been crying and was no longer breathing. Elliott said Hossbach told officers that the infant had been sick.
However, an autopsy and toxicology tests by the Monroe County Medical Examiner's Office led to a different conclusion.
"After we investigated, after interviews with Child Protective Services and other family members, it was determined that Dillon Hossbach was responsible for the death," Elliott said. "It was not illness-related as he said."
Elliott said the baby had been healthy, not sickly. He declined, however, to reveal the cause of death.
"Until I see the medical records, I won't be able to comment on the strength of the case," defense attorney Dominic Saraceno said.
The murder count in the indictment does not accuse Hossbach of intentionally killing his son. It uses the "depraved indifference to human life" subsection of the murder statute, accusing Hossbach of causing the death by "recklessly engaging in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person."
The first-degree manslaughter charge accuses him of causing death while trying to inflict an injury, and the second-degree manslaughter charge accuses him of recklessly causing the death of the child.
Elliott said the injury to the baby occurred while Hossbach was alone with the child. Saraceno said Hossbach is not married.
According to William's death notice in The Buffalo News, the child's mother was Grace McPartlin. And William had a sister, Charlotte Hossbach. Saraceno said Dillon Hossbach split with the child's mother, and Family Court terminated Dillon's visitation rights for Charlotte.
County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III set Hossbach's bail at $40,000 cash or bond, or $80,000 in property. Saraceno said he thought Hossbach would be able to post that bail.