A father accused of abusing a 2-month-old boy in Groton faced a judge Friday.
The son of U.S. Navy seaman Jordan Rittenhouse, 24, has been clinging to life since the arrest.
Court officials said Rittenhouse's baby suffered 29 fractures. The head doctor at Yale-New Haven Hospital said it was "the worst case I've ever seen."
I've never seen a doctor, head of the department at Yale say, that ‘this is worst case she's ever seen.' Twenty-nine fractures, I'm surprised the kid is alive," Judge Kevin McMahon said while shaking his head during the arraignment.
According to court documents, Krishna Rittenhouse, the mother, took the baby to Lawrence and Memorial Hospital on Monday because he was not eating well.
That's when tests confirmed multiple rib fractures to the boy's ribs and he was transferred to Yale-New Haven. Krishna Rittenhouse could not explain the fractures and thought it could have been brittle bone disease.
Doctors determined that the injuries could not be a disease, so the Department of Children and Families was contacted. Groton police also became involved Tuesday.
The documents said Jordan Rittenhouse admitted to squeezing the baby approximately "eight times over the course of four weeks with the intention to get him to stop crying."
Jordan Rittenhouse is a seaman in the U.S. Navy, though only for less than a year. Jordan Rittenhouse told police the pressures of school, work and bills stressed him out.
"I may have squeezed him at some point, but I am afraid for my career," Jordan Rittenhouse said, according to the documents. "I'm just starting in my career."
He admitted to squeezing the child so tight that he "knew it was wrong, stopped, let go, put him down and started rubbing his back," the documents said.
He also recalled a time that "he squeezed so hard, he thought he punctured a lung."
Jordan Rittenhouse told police that when he shoved a bottle in his son's mouth, he caused bleeding. He told his wife that the baby scratched himself.
During interviews Wednesday, Krishna Rittenhouse told police that she had known her husband for seven years and wanted to go to medical school in North Carolina. However, she had an unplanned pregnancy in 2012. She married Jordan Rittenhouse a year later.
The couple lived in North Carolina until the beginning of this year when Jordan Rittenhouse joined the Navy. That's when they moved to Groton with his 2-year-old daughter.
Their baby boy was born in June.
Police said they made the arrest Thursday.
"There's no justification for it for sure," said Teddy McCarty, a neighbor.
Neighbors said they are in disbelief after hearing of Jordan Rittenhouse's charges. His neighbors and his shipmates said they were trying to understand how this could happen.
"Total shock," said Ty Callands, a neighbor. "I have two little ones, so I could never imagine this happening to them."
Neighbors told Eyewitness News recently they saw him crack under the stress.
"There's a lot involved in a job like that so it's not exactly surprising," McCarty said.
Jordan Rittenhouse faces risk of injury to a minor and first-degree assault.
Following his arraignment at New London Superior Court on Friday, he is being held on a $500,000 bond and he is not expected to post his bail, according to his public defender.
The baby remains in serious condition, but appears he will survive.
Eyewitness News went to the home of Rittenhouse, but the family declined to comment.
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