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A North Carolina college professor is behind bars after police say he killed his 6-week-old adoptive baby.

Van Erick Custodio, 42, has been charged with first-degree murder and child abuse, in connection with the death of his adopted son, whose name has not yet been released. According to WSOC-TV, Custodio previously admitted to abusing the baby “multiple times.” He’s currently in custody at the Gaston County jail.

The incident happened on April 1 in Gastonia, according to police. Officers with the Gastonia Police Department arrived at a home off of Prancer Court after receiving a call regarding an unconscious infant. The baby was subsequently taken to an area hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Custodio was arrested for the infant’s death on April 11.

Friends of Custodio told police that the defendant “threw the child on the sofa and also squeezed the child, hearing a pop in the rib area, and “jerked the legs of the child back and felt a pop in the child’s legs” when changing his diaper, court documents state.

The baby’s birth mother gave the child up in hopes that he would have a better life. She arrived from out of town earlier this week, to attend Custodio’s hearing on Wednesday, where she learned he’ll remain behind bars without bail.

Also on Wednesday, the court heard how Custodio and his wife, who have another adopted child, launched a fundraiser to raise money to pay for the 6-week-old’s adoption.

“We just felt like God put that desire in our hearts,” the couple said in a fundraising video played for the court. “We’ve always wanted to have a family. At the end of the day, it’s a calling, right, it’s also a scriptural thing, right?”

According to CBS 3, Custodio had been working for Belmont Abbey College but has since been placed on suspicion amid the investigation.

The story is developing. Check back for updates.

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[Feature Photo: Pixabay]

Source: This post first appeared on

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