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Batavia man charged in baby’s death declared brain dead

The Batavia man charged with the death of a 6-month-old boy has been declared brain dead following a suicide attempt Sunday and is not expected to survive.

Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman filed a letter in Batavia City court Wednesday, informing Judge Robert J. Balbick of the situation.

A doctor at Erie County Medical Center informed county officials Wednesday morning that a CAT scan performed on Jeffrey L. Deats, 28, of Olyn Avenue, “showed no brain activity,” the letter stated.

Deats pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree manslaughter in the death of Chandler Zuch and was remanded to Genesee County Jail where he was found Sunday night hanging by a bed sheet in an apparent suicide attempt.

Deats is not Chandler’s father, as was first thought, according to DNA tests. Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch confirmed reports that Deats is not the biological father of the victim.

Police said the mother of the baby left him in Deats’ care on the morning of Dec. 13. Emergency medical crews and Batavia firefighters were called to the Olyn home at about 9:45 a.m. the next day, after Deats and another family member reported that the child was not breathing.

The boy was pronounced dead at 11:20 a.m. Dec. 14 in United Memorial Medical Center.

An autopsy the next day by the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office showed the boy suffered multiple injuries to his brain, causing death.

Police said Deats initially told he fell down a flight of stairs while holding the baby.

Friedman said Thursday that the death “was not an accident.”

Deats has been in ECMC since the suicide attempt. His condition had been listed as critical until Monday night when it was upgraded to “stable,” according to WBTA radio, which first reported Friedman’s letter. Officials did not explain why Deats’ condition was previously upgraded.

Friedman, in the letter, also informed Balbick that guarding Deats around-the-clock has created “a terrible burden” on Genesee County Jail staff and asked that they be relieved of that duty. Friedman also asked that Deats be released on his own recognizance. A felony hearing scheduled for Wednesday was cancelled.