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Neglect allegations probed months before Las Vegas infant’s death

Updated February 4, 2018 - 11:26 pm

Four months before Eric Chu was charged with murder in his 10-month-old daughter’s January death, Clark County Department of Family Services officials were called to a hospital and the family’s Las Vegas apartment to investigate neglect allegations, public records show.

Investigators interviewed the family after Chu’s son, the infant twin of the deceased baby girl, fell from a bed during a diaper change and broke his arm, the twins’ mother told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Sunday.

The department determined that the allegations in the late September incident were unsubstantiated, according to county records.

Too fearful to leave

After her daughter’s fatal injuries Jan. 23, Raelene Jemison informed police she had tried to leave Chu before but feared for herself and her family’s safety, according to a Metropolitan Police Department arrest warrant.

“There was no way he would let me leave,” she told the newspaper Sunday.

The warrant also states that she informed Las Vegas police that Chu, 31, had hit her on several occasions and that she had told him in the past he was too rough with their children.

On Sunday, she told the Review-Journal that she never saw bruises on the children and that Chu “was fine with them.”

According to the warrant, Jemison told police about a comment Chu had made to her months earlier. “(The children’s mother) stated Chu stated he was going to ‘end up killing’ the twins,” it reads.

On Sunday, she denied the statement.

“He never told me ever he would end up killing his children,” she told the Review-Journal.

The warrant states that Chu screamed at his then-3-month-old twins and threw a baby bottle against a wall June 23 because the infants were crying. Jemison disputes that Chu threw a bottle during that incident.

While Chu didn’t make any specific threats that morning, the report said, police arrested him on a charge of unlawfully possessing a gun as a previously convicted domestic abuser. Court records show Chu was convicted of domestic battery in 2014 and 2016.

Seven months later, about 4:50 p.m. Jan. 23, Chu called 911 to report that his 10-month-old girl, Jordyn Chu, was not breathing and was convulsing. Metro officers also responded because Chu was threatening first responders at the apartment complex, in the 9200 block of West Charleston Boulevard, where the family lived.

Jemison said Sunday that Chu called her at her workplace when he noticed a medical issue with Jordyn, but he initially told her he was not going to call an ambulance after seeing marks on her because he had picked her up too hard earlier.

Chu told police Jordyn had a seizure while he was giving her a bath. He said he noticed she wasn’t breathing and called 911. Police asked him about her extensive brain injuries, and while Chu continually denied causing them, he had no explanation for how the baby had received them, the warrant states.

At some point after speaking with police, Chu left Las Vegas. Metro’s abuse and neglect detectives thought he might have fled to Chicago. U.S. marshals arrested Chu there on Jan. 26.

Jordyn died about 7 p.m. the next day at University Medical Center. Her death was the result of blunt force injuries to her head and neck, the Clark County coroner’s office determined. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Prosecutors charged Chu with murder Jan. 26, records show.

‘One would have been fine’

A hospital doctor also noticed that Jordyn’s twin brother had marks on his neck and bruises on his face, the warrant states.

The children’s mother said she had changed the twins’ diapers about 6:30 a.m. Jan. 23 before leaving for work and noticed no injuries on either baby, according to the report.

“I never once thought he would hurt those kids,” she said Sunday.

Jemison told police Chu had previously and repeatedly mentioned their twins stressed him out.

She also remembered Chu complaining about having twins, saying the day Jordyn was hospitalized that “one would have been fine,” according to the warrant. The night before, the mother told police, Chu shook the twin boy while he was in a bouncer seat because he wouldn’t stop crying.

And on the day Chu was arrested on the gun possession charge, she heard him say, “I see why parents kill their kids,” the warrant shows.

The baby’s death marked the 11th homicide investigated in Clark County in 2018 and the 10th investigated by Metro, according to Review-Journal records.

Contact Blake Apgar at bapgar@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5298. Follow @blakeapgar on Twitter. Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.