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Cary man enters guilty plea in shaken baby case

WOODSTOCK – A Cary man shook a one-month old child so violently that her injuries required brain surgery, a McHenry County prosecutor said.

Alvin D. Santiago, 30, entered a blind guilty plea Wednesday before McHenry County Judge Sharon Prather. As part of the agreement, he will serve between eight and 15 years in prison on attempted child abuse charges. Exactly how much time he will serve will be up to the judge.

Prosecutors said Santiago, on Aug. 27, 2012, was watching the injured child and five others including his own, at his Cary home when the child sustained injuries. Santiago ran an unlicensed day care that was described as an "arrangement between friends."

According to Assistant State's Attorney Sharyl Eisenstein, the injured girl would not stop crying the day Santiago was watching her. He later told investigators that he "snapped and held [the victim] in front of his body and shook [the victim] causing her head to snap forward and backward," Eisenstein said.

The parent's immediately noticed a change in their daughter – she was vomiting and more irritable and fussy, Eisenstein said.

Emergency crews on Sept. 17, 2012, were called to Santiago's home because the child wasn't breathing. She eventually was placed in critical care for brain hemorrhaging.

Doctors believed the September incident could have been caused by a less significant head trauma, such as a bump in the head, Eisenstein said. Santiago denied abusing the child that day.

The girl later underwent brain surgery to relive the pressure in her head. She also had detached eye retinas that required multiple surgeries, Eisenstein said. The child still suffers from a seizure disorder.

Santiago's bond was revoked and he was immediately taken to custody following Wednesday's court appearance. A sentencing hearing is set for Feb. 20. His defense attorney, George Kililis declined to comment after the court appearance.

Outside the courtroom, the victims parents said the child was making gains.

"At this time me and my wife Rachel would like to express how glad we are that this moment has finally come about so that justice for our daughter is served," the child's father, James Greve said in a written statement emailed to the Northwest Herald. "... We hope that we can now turn the corner and try to find a way to take this tragedy and educate the public about shaken baby syndrome and child abuse so as to lessen the frequency of which these tragedies happen."

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