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Father of baby found in East River arrested in NYC, NYPD says

James Currie returned to NYC after being held in Thailand, the NYPD said.

The father of a baby who was found

The father of a baby who was found in the East River on Sunday was arraigned on Friday, prosecutors said. Above, NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea leads a briefing on case on Wednesday. Photo Credit: Marisol Diaz-Gordon

The father of a 7-month-old boy found in the East River last weekend told the child's mother that she would never see her son again, according to a criminal complaint filed on Friday.

James Currie, of the Bronx, was arraigned in New York City on Friday after being stopped and held in Thailand on Wednesday, according to prosecutors and the NYPD. He traveled to New York Thursday night and was arrested at 1 a.m. Friday, police said.

Currie, 37, is believed to be the last person to see his son Mason Saldana alive after he picked the child up from the mother's home on Saturday, according to NYPD Chief of Detectives Dermot Shea. Pedestrians had spotted the baby floating in the East River near the Manhattan side of the Brooklyn Bridge on Sunday around 4:05 p.m., police said. 

Mason was taken to NewYork-Presbyterian/Lower Manhattan Hospital, but he did not survive. Investigators believe Mason was dead before Currie left his Co-op City home with the child inside a makeshift carrier on Sunday afternoon, according to Shea.

A cause of death is still being determined by the city medical examiner's office. "Additional testing is necessary," Shea added.

Currie boarded a flight to Bangkok, Thailand, on Monday, Shea said, the same day Mason's mother called police to report that the child had not been dropped off at day care earlier in the day.

"I don’t think anyone could listen to the call without their blood curdling," Shea said. "At some point during that call, the mother brings up on her own that she heard on the news about a child in the water and fears the worst and starts crying."

The mother, who was not identified by police, also received a series of text messages from Currie on Wednesday after he landed in Thailand, including one that said, "I'm not in the USA," and another that said, "You will never see Mason again," according to the criminal complaint.

Currie and the child's mother are not married, and it appears that Mason was given to him as part of a court-stipulated visitation, Shea said.

"This is clearly something that no parent should have to go through," he added.

Investigators believe Mason died in Currie's home sometime between Saturday and Sunday. Currie was captured on video entering his home with the child still alive on Saturday around 12:50 p.m., according to Shea. 

On Sunday, around 1:30 p.m., Currie was seen on video leaving his home with a backpack that was rigged like a front-facing baby carrier with a blanket draped over it, Shea said.

"We believe that the child was deceased in that 24-hour period and he took him out of the residence," he added.

Currie, who is an MTA employee, took a bus from the Bronx to Manhattan and then rode the subway to lower Manhattan, per the criminal complaint.

He was seen again on video around 3:10 p.m. walking between the South Street Seaport and the heliport, heading toward the East River with the makeshift carrier still on, according to Shea. Mason was found in the water about an hour later.

A backpack that was seen floating near the baby was also recovered. Police are looking into whether it's the same makeshift baby carrier Currie was seen using in several videos, Shea said.

Currie was arraigned on Friday on a charge of concealment of a human corpse — a Class E felony, per the Manhattan district attorney's office.

Additional charges are possible depending on the outcome of the medical examiner's investigation, Shea said.

Judge Suzanne Adams issued a temporary order of protection and Currie was held without bail. He is due back in court on Wednesday.

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