Failed to Death: Sanai Deleon-Pitts

6:18 PM, Nov 11, 2012   |    comments
Sanai Deleon-Pitts
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Age: 3 mos.
Born: March 3, 2011
Died: June 11, 2011
Location: Denver
Suspect in death: Amanda Deleon and Calvin Pitts, parents

Calvin Pitts could explain the burns on his 3-month-old son's left thigh and right foot.

He could not explain the abrasion under Sanai Deleon-Pitts' chin, the tear inside his right ear, the scrape behind his left ear or why the infant appeared to have a fractured wrist.

He did not know that the baby boy had eight fractured or healing ribs. Five on his right side. Three on his left.

Sanai died June 11, 2011, after paramedics rushed the baby from his parents' Denver apartment on South Federal Boulevard to Swedish Medical Center.

When Sanai was 3 weeks old, someone called the Denver Department of Human Services concerned that the infant's mother, Amanda Deleon, and her mother were smoking synthetic marijuana, or "black mamba," around Sanai, according to a state and county review of Sanai's death. Deleon tested negative for the drug. Her mother was later arrested for a probation violation because she tested positive.

Caseworkers continued to have contact with the parents and warned them about the negative effects of substance abuse. Pitts appeared agitated and defensive with caseworkers. It is unclear whether caseworkers addressed a report that Pitts, frustrated with Sanai's crying, punched a hole in the wall.

Almost two weeks before Sanai died, Deleon noticed that his leg was swollen. She had adjusted his tiny legs while holding him in an effort to get him to "shut up." Intending to decrease the swelling, Pitts put a wet towel in a microwave and wrapped it around Sanai's leg. He told investigators that when he pulled the towel away, the back of the infant's left thigh was burned.

Pitts dressed the burn with ointment and gauze instead of taking Sanai to the hospital, where he feared people would "think wrong of him," according to an arrest affidavit.

When detectives asked about the burn on his son's foot, Pitts said he was sitting next to Sanai when he fell asleep smoking a cigarette, which fell onto the tiny foot. Pitts said he treated that burn with Neosporin.

An autopsy showed that Sanai died of complications from burns and blunt-force injuries. His death was ruled a homicide.

In May, Pitts and Deleon pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. They each were sentenced to 40 years in prison.

Read the Arrest Affidavit

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