The grief-stricken grandfather of a 3-month-old baby girl cops say was killed by her father is holding out hope the infant’s death was simply a terrible accident.
“I think it was an accident,” Donald Comager, 47, said about his granddaughter Genevieve’s death. “I still had to say something. I couldn’t say nothing.”
Comager called police on his son Damion, 23, and Damion’s girlfriend Ivana Paolozzi, 20, after his son confessed to him that the baby had died, he said.
Damion is now being charged with his child’s murder.
“I loved my daughter and I’m sorry,” Comager said to reporters as he was walked out of the 44th Precinct stationhouse in handcuffs late Monday on his way to Bronx Criminal Court.
The grandfather’s boss recalled a contentious relationship between Donald and his son.
“I know Donald had issues with Damion,” said Mark Culotta, who hired the grandfather two decades ago for his Louisiana landscaping business. “I think Damion had some anger issues that had bothered Donald.”
“(Donald’s) upset, very upset,” Culotta told the Daily News. “He is just devastated about the chain of events that has occurred here in the past two to three weeks.”
Donald Comager is now trying to bring his granddaughter’s remains to Louisiana for a proper burial, his friend Jordan Hover said on a GoFundMe post seeking donations for funeral expenses.
“The Comager family is absolutely devastated by Genevieve’s sudden passing and is struggling to make sense of such an incomprehensible tragedy,” Hover wrote.
Donald Comager called the NYPD around 8 p.m. Sunday saying he was worried something had happened to his granddaughter.
“He told me that he shook her and he laid her down because she was screaming and he went to sleep because he was tired,” the grandfather told CBS News from his home in East Baton Rouge Louisiana Monday. “He went to sleep, then woke up and she was stiff, she was cold.”
He told police that when he spoke to his son earlier in the day he didn’t hear Genevieve babbling or crying in the background, a welcome sound from other calls.
“My son, he might think I didn’t do the right thing,” Donald Comager said about calling the police. “But I did the right thing.”
When police showed up at the University Family Residence, a transitional housing shelter on University Ave. near W. 165th St. where Damion and Ivana were staying with the baby, the infant was not with them.
After some questioning, one of them broke down and took the police to a wooded area strewn with trash including a broken toilet off W. 161st St. near the Major Deegan Expressway.
Cops found the baby dead in the garbage-filled woods, which is about three blocks from Yankee Stadium.
The city Medical Examiner hadn’t establish a cause of death by Monday night but Genevieve’s body may have been left in the woods for days, police sources said.
Cops cuffed Damion after he admitted he slapped and shook his daughter when she cried as a way of silencing her, according to law enforcement sources.
He was charged with murder, manslaughter and concealment of a human corpse, cops said. His girlfriend was charged with concealment of a human corpse as well as obstructing government administration.
They were awaiting arraignment in Bronx Criminal Court Tuesday.
The family did not have a history of abuse with the Administration of Children’s Services before Sunday and the agency will join police in investigating the girl’s death.
“As soon as this family came to our attention after this tragic matter arose, we launched an immediate investigation with the NYPD,” spokeswoman Marisa Kaufman said.