- Associated Press - Wednesday, February 19, 2014

DAMASCUS, Md. (AP) — A Maryland man and military combat veteran has been charged in the fatal beating of his 3-year-old son who was adopted months earlier from Korea, police said Tuesday.

Brian Patrick O'Callaghan, 36, of Damascus, has been charged with first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of the young boy earlier this month.

He was ordered held without bond during a court appearance Tuesday as his lawyer said his client did not commit any crime.

Investigators were called to Children’s National Medical Center in the District on Feb. 2, where police say the boy’s injuries, including bleeding in the brain and a skull fracture, indicated he had been beaten. The boy died the next day of multiple blunt impact injuries, which Mr. O'Callaghan could not explain or account for, according to police-charging documents.


Montgomery County police said Mr. O’Callaghan told investigators he had been caring for the child for two days while his wife was out of town when the boy at one point fell backward in the shower and hit his shoulder.

The next day, Mr. O'Callaghan said, he put the boy down for a nap. But when he went to check on him, the child had mucus coming from his nose and began vomiting after he was picked up, police said.

Mr. O'Callaghan said he took the boy to a hospital emergency center, where doctors became concerned that the child might be brain dead because of internal bleeding in the brain and hemorrhaging in the eyes, police said.

Defense lawyer Steven McCool said Mr. O'Callaghan contests the allegations, which he called “unfounded.”

He said he disputes that the child suffered a skull fracture or multiple injuries to his head.

“My client is grieving the loss of his son while fighting what ultimately will be [proven to] be unfounded charges,” Mr. McCool said in an interview.

Mr. O'Callaghan was ordered held without bond during a court appearance Tuesday. His lawyer identified him as an ex-Marine and combat veteran and said Mr. O'Callaghan now works at the National Security Agency, specializing in Korea. The NSA did not immediately return an email seeking comment.

Police identified the child as Hyunsu O’Callaghan. An obituary posted on the website of the Frederick News-Post spelled the boy’s name as Madoc Hyeonsu O’Callaghan and said he was born in South Korea and had joined the family last October. He was described in the obituary as a “smiling, content, and loving son and brother.”

“He loved his dogs, his big brother Aidan, and anything his parents made for him to eat. He wasn’t dealt the simplest hand in life, but he found something to love in it every day,” the obituary said.