Rochester Man Now Faces Manslaughter Charge For Young Son’s Death
Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Olmsted County Attorney's Office has amended the criminal complaint against a Rochester man accused of child neglect to include a manslaughter charge.
The amended complaint including the second-degree manslaughter charge against 44-year-old Darius Pitchford was filed in Olmsted County Court on Friday. He was previously charged with felony neglect in connection with the death of his three-year-old son last year.
Pitchford is accused of removing the boy from the Emergency Department at Olmsted Medical Center against medical advice in the early morning hours of February 14. Approximately four hours later, Rochester police responded to the family's home after the child's mother found him dead. An autopsy later determined his death was caused by complications stemming from a type of congenital hernia that can cause intestinal blockages.
The criminal complaint cites medical records that indicate Pitchford brought his son to the ER the night of February 13 but initially refused to allow the medical providers to draw blood for testing. He later relented and the tests found a high white blood cell count along with "dangerous electrolyte problems that could affect his heart" and signs of kidney failure.
The doctor treating the boy ordered x-rays, but before they could be done Pitchford took his son home after signing discharge paperwork that stated the child was leaving against medical advice. The discharge paperwork included a note that read. "Return to the ER as soon as possible. Your child may die." The court document also indicates that witnesses told investigators that Pitchford maintained that he was being lied to by the ER staff.
The deceased child's mother is suing Olmsted Medical Center. The wrongful death lawsuit, which was filed about a month before the original criminal complaint was brought against Pitchford, alleges OMC and the doctor who examined her son were negligent in his care. An Olmsted County judge recently denied a request by OMC to dismiss the lawsuit.