The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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US court to decide on baby’s fate as parents fight

Orange (California), Sept. 30 (AP): Little Christopher Ibarra’s mother wants her son disconnected from the machine keeping him alive so he can die in peace. His father, who authorities say violently shook him into a coma, is holding out for a miracle.

At stake is more than one-year-old Christopher’s life. The boy’s father could be charged with murder if his son dies.

Orange county superior court judge Richard Behn was expected to hear arguments from both sides. He has taken away the right of both parents to decide Christopher’s fate and appointed an attorney to represent the boy’s legal rights.

“Both have something to gain. They both have something to lose,” Patricia Egan, a professor of psychology and social work at the University of California at Riverside, said of the parents.

“The question is where is the best interest of the child.”

District attorney spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder would not say whether a decision has been made to seek murder charges against Moises Vasquez Ibarra if the baby dies.

Ibarra, 24, has pleaded innocent to one count of child abuse and one count of corporal injury to a child stemming from the December 17, 2001, incident that left the boy in a coma.

Although his eyes are open, Christopher lies virtually motionless and relies on machines to breathe and eat. Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Orange County say he will never recover.

Few involved in Christopher’s plight will discuss the case. Most of the court records have been sealed or labelled confidential because of the boy’s age. Numerous telephone calls to the attorney for Christopher’s mother have not been returned. One attorney for the father would not comment, the other did not return a call.

The couple’s roommate told police he heard Ibarra arguing with Christopher’s mother, Tamara Sepulveda, followed by a loud thud coming from their bedroom.

According to a police report, Ibarra then came out of the bedroom carrying a limp Christopher and asked the roommate to call 911.

At first the couple told police the baby was crying, then began to have trouble breathing. Later, Sepulveda allegedly told Ibarra shook Christopher and threw him into his crib.

The father was arrested three days later, after doctor told investigators Christopher had suffered shaken-baby syndrome. Sepulveda told the judge in may she wanted to end life support for Christopher and allow him “to go to heaven.”

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