A New Jersey father was arraigned Tuesday on charges of murder and endangering the welfare of a child in the death of his three-year-old son, whom prosecutors claimed the man killed because his teenage girlfriend disliked kids and threatened to leave him.
Brendan Creato’s body was found on October 13 in Cooper River Park about three hours after his father, 22-year-old David Creato Jr, reported him missing from his family’s Haddon Township home on Cooper Street.
In court Tuesday, prosecutor Christine Shah conceded that the case against Creato was largely circumstantial and came down to his ‘intense’ relationship with 17-year-old Julia Spensky, who allegedly resented Brandon’s presence in his father’s home.
David Creato Jr., 22, is led into Camden County Superior Court Tuesday, in Camden, N.J., today for an arraignment on charges in the death of his son
David Creato Jr., 22, pictured with Brendan, had called cops to file a missing person’s report just three hours before his son’s body was discovered in woods
Samantha Denoto, Brendan’s mother, leaves the Camden County Hall of Justice after an arraignment hearing today
Shah told the court that Spensky allegedly told her boyfriend that she did not like kids and threatened to break up with him because Creato had custody of the toddler every other weekend, which interfered in their love affair, and continued being in contact with the boy’s mother.
The prosecutor stated that Brendan was a victim of ‘homicidal violence’ and may have been smothered, strangled or drowned, based on the fact that the child had bruising near his collarbone and his brain showed signs of oxygen deprivation before his death, reported NJ.com.
Creato, pictured in court today, was arrested on Monday. A judge set his bail at $750,000 after prosecutors argued that he was a potential flight risk
In this October 13 file photo, police and other officials gather near a small brick apartment building where Brendan went missing
In this file photo from October 13, a police officer from the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office loads an evidence bag into a van outside the apartment building
According to a 911 call, David Creato told authorities he woke up on the morning of his son’s disappearance and realized the toddler was gone. The boy was wearing only his pajamas, neon socks and Mickey Mouse slippers.
‘I just woke up and he wasn’t in my apartment,’ the dad told the dispatcher on the call obtained by 6ABC. ‘I don’t know if he wandered out or what happened. I don’t know where he is.
‘The door was locked. I guess he unlocked it and left.’
Creato was arrested on Monday. A judge set his bail at $750,000 this afternoon after prosecutors argued that he was a potential flight risk.
Richard J. Fuschino Jr., an attorney representing Creato, said that his client would ‘vigorously defend this case,’ according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Brendan, three, is pictured with his mom Samantha. His father reported Brendan missing from his home. The boy was wearing only his pajamas, neon socks and Mickey Mouse slippers
Brendan, pictured, split his time between his mother’s and father’s homes who had shared custody
Brendan was found dead in Cooper River Park in New Jersey. Police are pictured at the scene back in October
The Medical Examiner of Camden County has sought help from his state counterpart in trying to determine a cause of death. Officials are pictured where Brendan’s body was found back in October
Police found no sign of forced entry in Creato’s apartment. Brendan is pictured above in a Facebook photo
Fuschino said he worried that pressure from the public lead to the arrest of Creato and that his indictment may be ‘the result of just not having any other answers’, according to the Inquirer.
The Medical Examiner of Camden County has sought help from his state counterpart in trying to determine a cause of death.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Creato made a call to 911 to report his son’s disappearance around 6am on October 13 and his body was found three hours later following a frantic search involving K-9 units and volunteers.
Police found no sign of forced entry in Creato’s apartment, according to the Inquirer.
Brendan split his time between his mother’s and father’s homes who had shared custody.
A GoFundMe account which was set up in the wake of Brendan’s passing raised $19,407 towards his funeral costs.
Tributes for Brendan are laid at his home back in October. This photo was posted to a GoFundMe account which raised $19,407 towards his funeral