Lake Wales, Florida -- A 29-year-old uncle arrested in the shaken baby death of his 5-month-old nephew made his first appearance in court Saturday. A judge appointed a public defender to represent him.
Gary Sipek, 29, was charged Friday evening with manslaughter after admitting he shook the child while he was babysitting July 14th, the Polk County Sheriff's Office said.
Related Story: Why you should never shake a baby
Investigators said Sipek shook the baby because he was crying and about to awaken other children he was babysitting. He put the child back in his playpen, went outside for a smoke to calm down and, when he returned, he found the baby had blood and froth around his nose. He called 911 for help.
The child was pronounced dead at Lake Wales Medical Center.
An autopsy concluded the child died of "shaken baby syndrome" and ruled the cause of death a homicide, the sheriff's office said.
Sipek is being held under no bond at the Polk County Jail.
Jon Wisenbaker is a supervisor of the Child Protection Team which is a program of Pasco Kids First. He says, "Mothers need to be aware that even though they may have the skills to deal with a baby to take care of them - when they leave them with someone and go away they need to make sure that caretaker also has skills and knows how to deal with a baby crying."
The experts say it's perfectly normal for a healthy baby to cry for two to three hours a day, even when their diaper has been changed and they're fed. They say it's important for parents and caregivers to have a plan. When you've tried everything else to comfort a child in your care and they won't stop crying call a relative or a friend to talk to. You should ask them to step in and give you a break.
As a last resort the experts say just put the baby down in its crib and leave the room because no baby has ever died from crying.
Polk County Sheriff's Office & Tammie Fields