The father of a 7-month-old boy found dead in the Connecticut River earlier this month appeared in court for the first time Tuesday after being charged with his son's murder.
Police said Tony Moreno, 21, of Middletown, threw his son, Aaden, off the Arrigoni Bridge in Middletown before attempting to commit suicide by jumping off the bridge the night of July 5.
Officers responded to the Arrigoni Bridge after receiving a 911 call from Moreno's mother, who said she heard a baby cooing and crying while on the phone with her son, who was threatening suicide, according to police.
"(C)ome down to the Portland bridge and get my phone and the stroller so you have pictures of the baby," he said, according to court paperwork. "Sorry, just tell everyone I'm sorry."
Around the same time, Moreno allegedly told Aaden's mother in a text message conversation, "there was a problem regarding our son" and then, "He's dead... And soon I will be too."
He sent those final two texts at 11:45 p.m., the same time Moreno's mother called 911, according to the warrant for his arrest.
Officers arrived at the scene moments before Moreno jumped into the river.
Police said he later admitted to throwing Aaden over the railing. Moreno has been charged with murder and murder with special circumstances.
"This one was tough on everyone," said Middletown Police Capt. Gary Wallace. "It just kind of punched a hole in the soul of the community."
Moreno, who was injured when he jumped, was arraigned in the hospital. He made his first court appearance in the case on Tuesday, two weeks after a person in a canoe found Aaden's body in the Connecticut River in East Haddam.
Moreno has also been charged with two counts of violating a restraining order.
According to court paperwork, a restraining order filed by Aaden's mother expired six days before Moreno jumped, and a judge denied her request to renew it.
Moreno spokes only briefly in court Tuesday.
Public defender James McKay requested a waiver of the time limit to hold a probable cause hearing, which will determine if there is enough evidence to bring the murder case against Moreno to trial.
Moreno is being held on $2 million bond and is due back in court on Sept. 15.