Man arrested after shaking 7-month-old to death, Seminole deputies say

Man charged with 1st degree murder in death of girlfriend's child

By Erik Sandoval - Reporter

SANFORD, Fla. - Seminole County deputies arrested a man on Sunday who they say shook his girlfriend's 7-month-old child to death.

Stephen Rodriguez, 25, of Sanford, has been charged with first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse in the April 17 incident.

Deputies said Rodriguez called 911 to report the child, Aiden Downs, was not breathing. Aiden was taken to Winnie Palmer Hospital and died two days later.

Rodriguez first told deputies that he dropped the child, which caused the baby to be unresponsive. He later admitted to shaking the child, according to deputies.

On Monday, a Seminole County judge ordered him held without bond.

"He's a good boy," said Deborah Nance, a friend of Rodriguez from church.  "(He's a) hard worker.  He loved the baby, and he loved (baby's mother)."

Rodriguez's attorney Jeff Dowdy told Local 6 it appears it was just a tragic accident, but Seminole County investigators say the child's injuries were not consistent with an accident.

"We haven't seen the autopsy reports," Dowdy said. "Responding to that would be purely speculation."

Rodriguez faces arraignment on June 3 at the Seminole County Courthouse.

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