A National Security Agency (NSA) employee is expected to plead guilty to beating to death his 3-year-old adopted son, reports the Daily Mail. The death occurred last year when 38-year-old Brian O’Callaghan from Damascus, Maryland, “a decorated Iraq war veteran” who served as the Korea division chief for the NSA, allegedly killed his son only months after he and his wife had adopted him from South Korea.
O’Callaghan has been incarcerated since his arrest in February of last year.
The toddler, whom the family renamed Madoc, reportedly died from his injuries two days after being transported to the Children’s National Medical Center in Falls Church, Virginia. O’Callaghan’s family initially insisted that the child’s death was an accident and that the former NSA employee was incapable of hurting his adopted son.
However, autopsy results reveal that the toddler was badly beaten, as the boy suffered from fractures at the base of his skull, bruises to the forehead, swelling of the brain and wounds to other parts of the body, reports the Daily Mail.
The autopsy report also indicated that Madoc had been beaten in the back with a linear and triangular shaped object. O’Callaghan was unable to explain his son’s injuries. However, he insisted that on the night of January 31, 2014, Madoc slipped and fell in the shower. He said he was trying to help bathe his son, noting that Madoc was “crying and upset,” and seemed afraid of the water.
O’Callaghan’s wife was out of town when the incident occurred, and his biological 8-year-old son was in a different part of the house. O’Callaghan told detectives that Madoc slipped and hit his shoulder in the bathtub, but later put him to bed without incident, according to reports.
The following day, O’Callaghan said his son went swimming and took a nap. When he went to check on Madoc, O’Callaghan said that he noticed “pink stains” on the bed sheets and mucus coming out of his nose. After returning a second time, Madoc was unresponsive, prompting O’Callaghan to rinse him off in the bath before taking him to the hospital, the father told investigators.
“Assistant State’s Attorney Donna Fenton said [sic] previously told the court that the beating had been ‘an absolutely horrific crime on an absolutely innocent young victim. Basically this child was beaten to death from head to toe,’ she added. ‘What this man did to this child is murder.’”
Madoc was a special needs child, suffering from congenital hydrocephalus, a condition present at birth caused by excessive cerebrospinal fluid that may accumulate in the brain. He was also born with dermal melanocytosis or Mongolian Spot, a condition present in more than 80 percent of Asians that resembles a blue spot on the sacrum.
If it weren’t for O’Callaghan’s extensive service in the military, the family may not have been able to adopt Madoc. The O’Callaghans worked with Catholic Charities in order to qualify to adopt a special needs child, according to the Daily Mail.
O’Callaghan’s honorable military background inevitably led to their approval.
O’Callaghan served in the Marine Corps Reserve during his enrollment at the University of Northern Colorado, after which he attended an Arabic language institute in Cairo. He then returned to the U.S. earning his masters degree from a Catholic University before being deployed to Iraq for part of 2003.
He received many awards and metals due to this constant exposure to “direct, indirect and mortar fire,” according to his attorney. O’Callaghan joined the NSA in 2002, working a variety of management style jobs with his most recent position being “a Division Chief in the Office of China and Korea,” reports The Washington Post.
If O’Callaghan agrees to the plea deal offered by prosecutors, he would plead guilty to child abuse resulting in death, punishable by life in prison.