JBER soldier accused of shaking baby to death
3 mins read

JBER soldier accused of shaking baby to death

JBER soldier accused of shaking baby to death
Fighter jets, support aircraft and transport aircraft assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson fill the runway during an “elephant walk” demonstration in 2020. (From Staff Sgt. Curt Beach/U.S. Air Force)

A soldier at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Anchorage has been accused of shaking his infant son to death while he was on leave to care for the child this spring.

Specialist Antonius Meyers, 24, was charged with two counts of second-degree murder, manslaughter and six counts of assault in connection with the child’s death, the state Department of Law announced Tuesday. Army officials say Meyers, a mechanic in the 11th Airborne Division, enlisted in 2021 and arrived in Alaska in May 2022.

A call to Meyers’ defense attorney was not immediately returned.

According to the indictment against Meyers, Anchorage police were told April 4 that Meyers’ 28-day-old son was at Providence Alaska Medical Center with bruises on his chest and lesions on his tongue. A CT scan of the child showed he had bleeding near his brain.

Meyers’ wife told investigators that he had been given three months of paternity leave to help care for the child, and that Meyers had been babysitting him at night while she cared for him during the day. She said they had been sleeping together the morning of April 3, when Meyers took the boy downstairs to feed him around 5 a.m.

“She said that when she handed (the baby) to Antonius, his eyes were open and he was conscious,” the police document reads.

According to the charges, Meyers initially told police he fed and burped his son, changed his diaper and they fell asleep on the couch. When he woke up shortly after 8 a.m. to feed the child again, he said the child was unresponsive but still breathing.

Meyers said he took his baby to the base hospital, calling a nurse while he was en route. The nurse told him the baby might have shaken baby syndrome, a brain injury caused by forceful shaking.

The indictment says Meyers testified that he applied some pressure to the baby’s chest to hold him down while wrapping him in a diaper, and that he occasionally covered his mouth when the boy was crying to help him calm down.

In a later interview, the charges say, Meyers admitted to shaking the child while he was crying, in a way that caused the child’s head to tilt forward until his chin hit his chest. He also said he had never used violence against his son before.

According to the charges, Meyers told police, “I’m not a bad person. I just had one hiccup and I panicked.”

Shortly thereafter, a doctor informed the district attorney that the baby’s injuries “are considered non-accidental injuries resulting from shaking the child.”

Providence workers put the baby in a medically induced coma, keeping him alive. A Department of Law spokesman said the infant died May 15, and a grand jury indicted Meyers on murder June 19.

Meyers was being held Tuesday at Goose Creek Correctional Center. If convicted of murder, he faces up to 99 years in prison.

portrait of a man outdoors

Chris Klint is a web producer and breaking news reporter for Alaska Public Media. Contact him atEmail: [email protected].Read more about ChrisHere.