Disabled boy’s death ruled a homicide
Because of parental abuse a severely disabled Ramona boy suffered as an infant, authorities have classified his death on Nov. 29 as a homicide.
Emergency crews responding to a medical-distress call pronounced Samuel Isaiah Dahlke dead at his adoptive family’s Ramona home in the 1000 block of Olive Avenue shortly before 12:30 a.m., according to sheriff’s officials and the county Medical Examiner’s Office.
Chris Dahlke, the boy’s adoptive mother, reported she had found her son not breathing when she went to give him medication.
An autopsy determined that the youngster had succumbed to after-effects of a head injury suffered when he was about 6 weeks old, and his death was ruled a homicide, according to police.
Samuel’s biological father, Billy Joe Springfield II, was convicted in 2006 of abusing the boy the previous year at an apartment in the Golden Hill district of San Diego. The then-23-year-old defendant was sentenced to four years probation, according to a spokeswoman for the District Attorney’s Office.
The child’s name was changed when he was adopted by the Dahlke family.
The San Diego Police Department will work with prosecutors to determine whether to file additional charges against Springfield in light of the child’s belated death, SDPD homicide Lt. Kevin Rooney said.
The injuries that Samuel suffered from being violently shaken as a baby left him with permanent disabilities, including blindness, inability to communicate and heart problems, his adoptive sister, Barbara Smith, told the Sentinel.
“He was a shaken baby and he had severe trauma from that initial injury,” said Smith.
Smith added that her mother specializes in the care of shaken babies. Three other special-needs children live in the home, she said.
Rooney declined to disclose where the potential homicide suspect now lives.
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