But he INSISTS the boy’s injuries were suffered in fall and his wife believes him
- Brian O’Callaghan and his wife adopted the boy from Korea in October
- O’Callaghan told police the boy fell in the shower two days before he died
- Authorities describe the boy’s injuries as being ‘from head to toe’
- Investigators believe O’Callaghan beat the boy while his wife was out of town
- The autopsy and other medical tests offer conflicting causes of the boy’s death
- O’Callaghan is an Iraq War veteran who now works as the NSA’s Korea division chief
- O’Callaghan’s wife and other families say he is incapable of hurting a child
PUBLISHED: 21:15 EST, 18 February 2014 | UPDATED: 04:28 EST, 19 February 2014
The National Security Agency’s Korea division chief has been charged with murder in the alleged beating death of his 3-year-old son who he and his wife adopted from Korea just months before his tragic death.
Brian O’Callaghan, a decorated Iraq War veteran who was awarded the Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his part in a gun battle that helped lead to the rescue of captured soldier Jessica Lynch, is accused of beating his adopted son, Hyunsu, so badly that he ultimately died two days after the alleged beating.
O’Callaghan’s family, including his wife, Jennifer, say the boy’s death was a tragic accident, and not murder. They say the NSA chief – who has top secret clearance with the agency – isn’t capable of hurting the boy.
Accused: Brian O’Callaghan is charged with the murder of his adoptive son, who police say had injuries ‘from head to toe’
Tragic: Hyunsu O’Callaghan (right), who the family calls Madoc, died of his injuries Feb. 3 at Children’s National Medical Center
‘He was so loving of him,’ a family member told the Washington Post.
Montgomery County, Maryland, prosecutors, however, believe the boy’s death was a case of cold-blooded murder.
‘An absolutely horrific crime on an absolutely innocent young victim,’ said Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Fenton, listing injuries to the boy’s head, neck and back. ‘Basically this child was beaten to death from head to toe.’
O’Callaghan contends that his son’s death was the result of an accidental slip the boy suffered in the shower two days before he died.
In a police interview, O’Callaghan told police that on the night of January 31, he helped the boy take a shower, noting that Madoc didn’t like it when the water hit him. At the time, O’Callaghan’s wife was out of town and his other son, a 7-year-old, was in a different part of the house.
‘During the shower, Hyunsu was crying and upset,’ Detective Mike Carin wrote in court papers, summarizing his conversation with O’Callaghan. ‘After the shower had ended, Hyunsu slipped in the bathtub, falling backwards. As he fell, he hit his shoulder. Brian consoled him and he went to bed without incident.’
The following day, O’Callaghan took Madoc and his other son to to breakfast and then to a swim center, Carin wrote in his report. O’Callaghan and his sons returned home and Madoc took a nap.
Bonded: Brian O’Callaghan, seen her with wife Jennifer, told police he had failed to bond with his adoptive son. Now he’s charged with his murder
According to the report, at about 4 p.m. on February 1, O’Callaghan went to check on Madoc during his nap. He says he noticed pink stains on the boy’s sheets and mucus coming out of his nose.
O’Callaghan told police he changed the sheets on his son’s bed and went back about an hour later to check on him again.
When he went back the second time, O’Callaghan noticed that the boy’s condition had gotten worse – he was unresponsive, O’Callaghan told investigators, so he washed him off in a bathtub and then took him to the hospital. At the hospital, ‘O’Callaghan could not provide an explanation’ for the boy’s injuries.
‘These facts are strong, these facts are horrific, and what this man did to this child is murder,’ Fenton, the prosecutor, said in court.
An autopsy revealed that Madoc had injuries consistent with having been beaten – he had a ‘fracture at the base of skull, bruises to the forehead, swelling of the brain and wounds to other parts of the body. There was also “blunt impact to the back from a linear and triangular shaped object.’
NSA: O’Callaghan currently works as a specialist on the Korean peninsula for the NSA
However, O’Callaghan’s attorney, Steven McCool, said in court Tuesday that medical tests performed at the hospital don’t support the findings in the autopsy.
‘There was a full CT scan done of Madoc, and there were no skull fractures,’ he said.
O’Callaghan and his wife had to work through Catholic Charities to qualify to adopt a child with special needs. Because of his honorable military background and current job with the NSA, in October the couple was told they could adopt Madoc.
‘I find it impossible to believe that he’s been indicted for murder because he’s worked so hard to get this baby,’ O’Callaghan’s grandfather William Rose told the paper. ‘He was so loving with him. He’s been so wonderful with his other child. I’ve never seen him do anything that would make me believe he is capable of that.’
O’Callaghan has been charged with one count each of first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death. he is being held without bond.