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Milwaukee man charged with first-degree reckless homicide in connection to 9-month-old baby's death

Posted at 4:04 PM, Jul 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-12 18:34:26-04

MILWAUKEE — A 25-year-old Milwaukee man is facing charges in connection to a nine-month-old baby's death.

Anthoni Cirra, 25, has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide, neglecting a child (consequence is death), and felony bail jumping.

The Milwaukee Police Department (MPD) said they investigated a possible child abuse case that happened last week near 3rd and Orchard. The baby died on Friday. MPD arrested three people in connection to the death, including Cirra.

The nine-month-old baby, identified as Lochlan Steffes, was admitted to the Emergency Department of Children's Hospital around 7 a.m. on Thursday, July 7. Steffes was suffering bleeding inside his head and a significant brain injury. The complaint says Steffes' injuries were life-threatening and "highly concerning" for child physical abuse.

During an interview with the mother, it was discovered she and the father met Cirra a month ago through a mutual friend and both got jobs at his place of employment.

On July 6, Cirra was off of work and volunteered to watch Steffes while the parents were at work. Cirra picked the parents up and dropped them off at work around 8:30 a.m. and returned home to care for Steffes. By 4:30 p.m., Cirra picked the parents up from work. The complaint says once inside the car, the mother noticed Steffes' breathing was "labored and spaced out" and he had a new bruise on the inside of his right arm. When she asked Cirra about his breathing, Cirra claimed Steffes had just fallen asleep and did not know what the bruise was from, the complaint says. Cirra then drove them back to his house.

Throughout the evening, the mother attempted to interact with Steffes who remained lethargic and non-responsive. As the evening progressed, Steffes' breathing worsened, the complaint says. There were times when he would be completely unresponsive and appear to stop breathing. As his condition got worse, the mother wanted to take Steffes to the hospital, but Cirra told her she was overreacting. When the mother tried to feed Steffes, he refused the first two bottles and threw up after being given the third.

According to the complaint, the mother told the father she wanted to take Steffes to the hospital, but the father said it would be rude to wake up Cirra for a ride to the hospital, and calling an ambulance would wake everyone up unnecessarily.

According to the complaint, despite Steffes' deteriorating condition, nobody sought medical care, and instead, they continued to hang out until 2:30 a.m.

Around 5:30 a.m., Cirra was concerned about Steffes, and woke up the mother. When the mother saw Steffes, his skin was pale, his lips were blue, and he was not breathing. The mother began CPR and asked Cirra to call 911. While the mother was performing CPR, the mother said Cirra said he made a mistake and "this is my fault," the complaint says. The Milwaukee Fire Department then arrived on the scene and transported Steffes to Children's.

The father told a detective that from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Steffes never opened his eyes and that the mother told him Steffes stopped breathing for over a half-minute. When the father checked on Steffes, he was making a wheezing sound with each breath.

After conducting an initial investigation at Children's, police went to Cirra's residence near 3rd and Orchard and arrested Cirra. A detective interviewed Cirra's girlfriend at the residence who said Cirra called her frustrated that Steffes was crying a lot around 9:30 a.m. on July 6. At 2:45 p.m., Cirra sent his girlfriend a video message saying "Yo, this little [expletive] pissed so much. Like his diaper is [expletive] full my [expletive]. I gave him a bath. This little [expletive] was coming. Ain't that right little buddy." The girlfriend said in the video, Steffes was whimpering and there was a bruise on his right arm, the complaint says.

During an interview with a detective, Cirra said Steffes was in good physical health when he took physical custody of him on the morning of July 6. Cirra said when he got home after dropping the parents off at work, he dropped the car seat on the front porch steps, but Steffes was not injured. During the afternoon, Cirra said he gave Steffes a bath and he struck his head on the floor. The complaint says Cirra said Steffes' breathing became labored later in the afternoon and his eyes were only partially opened. When Cirra was informed of Steffes' severe condition, Cirra denied abusing the baby.

According to the complaint, on July 8, after multiple brain death examinations, there was no brain activity and Steffes was removed from life support and died.

An autopsy confirmed Steffes suffered subudural bleeding on the brain and bilateral optic nerve hemorrhaging. There is not a final ruling on the cause and manner of his death, but his injuries are consistent with sustaining blunt force trauma to the head, the complaint says.

Cirra is a convicted felon with prior convictions in Waukesha and Walworth counties.

A $50,000 cash bond was set for Cirra on Tuesday. He is due back in court on July 18 for a preliminary hearing.

TMJ4 News is not identifying the parents involved in this case because they have not been criminally charged.

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