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Video shows arrest of Stamford dad suspected in son’s murder; court records detail prior abuse case

Cordova pulled over a taxi on West Main Street around 1:35 a.m. Tuesday after a tip. In the back seat was Edgar Ismalej-Gomez, 26, the subject of a manhunt for the past several hours. In the video, Cordova can be heard in English and Spanish telling the Ismalej-Gomez to raise his hands and not move. He was taken into custody without incident on an outstanding warrant for violation of probation.

Marissa Alter

Jan 5, 2023, 12:06 AM

Updated 529 days ago

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New video shows the moment police arrested a Stamford father who is suspected of killing his toddler son. Stamford police released body camera footage from Officer Jeremy Cordova.
Cordova pulled over a taxi on West Main Street around 1:35 a.m. Tuesday after a tip. In the back seat was Edgar Ismalej-Gomez, 26, the subject of a manhunt for the past several hours. In the video, Cordova can be heard in English and Spanish telling the Ismalej-Gomez to raise his hands and not move. He was taken into custody without incident on an outstanding warrant for violation of probation.
The search for him began Monday afternoon after police discovered his toddler son buried in Cummings Park.
“Officers located a possible area with fresh dirt. It was moved around, and they unearthed a plastic bag where the 2-year-old was inside,” said Chief Tim Shaw during a news conference.
An autopsy confirmed Liam Rivera died from multiple blunt force injuries to his head.
Ismalej-Gomez hasn't been charged with his son's death yet, but police said he is their suspect.
He also previously served time for breaking Liam's arm in Jan. 2021 when Liam was about 6 months old. According to that arrest warrant, Ismalej-Gomez initially said that he was lying in bed with his son when he dozed off, and Liam fell off the bed, hurting his arm.
But doctors said Liam's injury was “caused by a twisting-type motion rather than a fall,” the warrant stated. Further exams also found a leg fracture and a chest bruise, which both parents offered no explanation for, according to the warrant. One doctor believed Liam had been physically abused.
Police said months later, Ismalej-Gomez admitted "involuntary responsibility” and changed his story. He said he grabbed Liam's arm as he fell off the bed, which probably caused the injury, according to the warrant.
Ismalej-Gomez had no prior criminal history at the time. In April 2022, he pleaded guilty to risk of injury and a reduced charge of third-degree assault. The judge sentenced him to a five-year sentence suspended after 60 days, followed by three years of probation. His release included several conditions including that he obey a standing criminal protective order barring him from any contact with Liam. In court Tuesday, the prosecutor said it appears Ismalej-Gomez has been living with his son and the child’s mother for the past few weeks.
But that wasn’t Ismalej-Gomez’s only alleged violation of probation. According to court documents, he gave probation officials a fake address and a non-working phone number and took off. A warrant for his arrest was signed in August, but it’s unclear if there were active efforts to find him.
In response to a News 12 inquiry, Gary Roberge, executive director of the Judicial Branch’s Court Support Services Division, emailed the following:
"Adult Probation conducted phone, mail and field activities to locate Mr. Gomez subsequent to his failing to report and absconding. Adult probation did not conduct any further search activities subsequent to the issuance of the warrant. Once the VOP warrant is signed it is entered into PRAWN (Paperless Re-Arrest Warrant Network). Adult Probation Officers, local police and state police officers all have the authority to arrest the probationer on the violation of probation warrant."
Supervisory Assistant State’s Attorney Michelle Manning told the court no one knew where he was until Monday. Manning also outlined the early investigation into Liam’s death. She said the child’s mother told police that about a week ago, Ismalej-Gomez went into Liam’s room, and the child ended up dying.
“The defendant would not let the mother of the child call for an ambulance. He placed the child in a bag and buried the child at Cummings Park,” Manning stated. “The mother of the child has reported that the defendant has held her captive for the past four days. He’s alleged to have carried a handgun, and they left the state, drove down to West Virginia and back.”
Manning said the mother was able to leave Monday, purchase a phone, and call her attorney, who got police involved.
The judge set bond for Ismalej-Gomez at $3 million.
Police would not comment on whether the child's mother will face charges in the case but said she’s been through some trauma.


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