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Cops: Man Smothered Infant Son

June 24, 1999

FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) _ Haunted by the image of his dead baby’s distorted face, a man walked into the Johnson County Jail and allegedly confessed to killing his infant son.

``Then he begged me to shoot him,″ Sheriff’s Maj. Terry Nichalson said Wednesday.

Ronald Shanabarger, 29, was held without bond and was expected to be charged today with killing Tyler Shanabarger, who was less than 8 months old.

Shanabarger told authorities he wrapped plastic wrap around Tyler’s head Saturday night and walked away. He said he returned 20 minutes later, removed the wrap and placed his dead son face-down in a baby bed for his wife, Amy, to discover.

Mrs. Shanabarger thought the baby was asleep and didn’t realize anything was wrong until the child failed to wake up Sunday morning, Nichalson said.

Officials thought the baby died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Franklin Police Chief Harry Furrer said an autopsy did not reveal evidence of foul play.

Nichalson said Shanabarger, with his wife, came to the sheriff’s office Wednesday morning, saying he decided to confess because his conscience got the best of him.

``My son died of SIDS on Sunday. But that’s not what happened,″ Shanabarger told a jail officer, according to police. ``I killed him. I killed my son.″

``He said he kept seeing the baby’s face,″ Nichalson said. ``It was not a pretty sight, because the baby laid dead all night and the blood had collected under the skin and it looked pretty bad.″

Nichalson said the killing was an act of revenge ``against someone other than the victim,″ but did not explain further.

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