Van Erick Custodio charged with murder after abused boy dies

Van Erick Custodio appears in a mugshot

A former college professor previously charged with child molestation was charged with manslaughter on Thursday after the newborn child he adopted weeks ago recently died from his injuries.

Van Erick Custodio, 42, is now charged with first-degree murder and the felony of child molestation. According to arrest warrants from Charlotte, NC-based ABC/Telemundo affiliate WSOC, he admitted to molesting the boy “a number of times.”

In those documents, law enforcement officials wrote that the child suffered a “fractured skull, a fractured rib, and multiple fractures in each leg.”

Another court document obtained by the TV station alleges that one of Custodio’s friends told police earlier this month the now-former educator admitted he “threw the child onto the sofa and also pushed the child when he heard a popping in the rib area.” “.

That friend also said the defendant admittedly “jerked the child’s legs back and felt a pop in the child’s legs” while changing his diaper.

The child molestation charge came after the Gastonia Police Department and emergency services responded to a call that the 6-week-old boy had suffered cardiac arrest on April 1, 2022. The child was then taken to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries, according to Charlotte, NC-based CBS affiliate WBTV.

Custodio was charged with child molestation while out of town in Gastonia County, NC. He was eventually arrested two days after charges were filed in York County, NC – when sheriff’s deputies reportedly received information that the suspect was hiding at a lake house there. The accused was arrested and taken back to Gastonia on Wednesday April 13, 2022 – the same day the boy died in a hospital.

According to one of the warrants, Custodio’s wife asked him to leave her home when he admitted to abusing the adopted boy.

Custodio once appeared in a video to support fundraisers so he and his wife could adopt the boy, the WSOC ken lemon discovered.

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

Both handsan organization that funds orphan adoptions helped place the child with the defendant and his wife.

“Our team is incredibly devastated by this news,” the agency said in a statement before the boy’s death. “We find these acts cruel and pray for healing for this child. We strive for all children to go to safe and loving homes, so our hearts are broken.”

The defendant previously worked for Belmont Abbey College. He was placed on family leave before being suspended on Wednesday; his side there currently appears in Google results but is no longer active. Custodio was hired this semester as an adjunct professor from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte. In a statement, UNC moved to distance itself from its hiring.

“UNC Charlotte has hired Van Erick Custodio on a temporary contract to teach a class as an assistant this semester,” the university said in a statement. “He has been placed on administrative leave and another faculty member will be covering that class for the remainder of the semester.”

[image via Gastonia Police Department]

Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected] Van Erick Custodio charged with murder after abused boy dies

James Brien

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