BRIDGETON — Andrew Rieger recklessly caused the death of his 11-week-old daughter in part by throwing the infant onto a couch at his home early Sept. 12, prosecutors alleged in Superior Court on Friday.
The infant then fell onto a wooden floor, suffering the head trauma that eventually caused her death at a hospital for children in Delaware two days later, Cumberland County Assistant Prosecutor Christina Aiello charged.
Aiello, speaking during Rieger’s arraignment in the Cumberland County courthouse, did not comment to the court as to why the 25-year-old Millville man threw his daughter onto the couch. Aiello declined comment on that issue after the 10-minute court proceeding ended, saying she needed to further review the evidence in the case.
Rieger, of East Oak Road, is charged with aggravated manslaughter, aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He is being held in the Cumberland County jail on $1 million cash bail.
Rieger wore an orange jail jumpsuit while being arraigned before Superior Court Judge Robert Malestein. Rieger appeared frightened as he stood next to his attorney, Vincent Pancari, of Vineland, and made no statements to the court.
Aiello declined to provide a name for Rieger’s daughter, identifying her during the proceedings only as “A.R.”
Some of Rieger’s neighbors identified Rieger’s girlfriend as the child’s mother. They did not know her name.
Aiello would not identify the woman Friday. Aiello said some members of the woman’s family were in the courtroom for Friday’s proceedings. Those family members were whisked out of the courtroom by staff from the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office after the arraignment ended and were taken to a small conference room. Those family members left the courthouse without comment.
Millville police said they first learned of an incident involving the girl when they were called to Inspira Medical Center Vineland at 5 a.m. Sept. 12 to investigate reports of what they called the child’s “suspicious injuries.” They said the baby had been taken to the medical center from Rieger’s home via ambulance, although they would not say who called for the ambulance.
The baby was eventually transported to Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., where she died Sept. 14.
Rieger was originally charged with aggravated assault and endangering the welfare of a child, authorities said. Rieger was charged with the offenses in Delaware after he went to the hospital in connection with the girl’s injuries, they said. Rieger was then taken to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in Wilmington on $75,000 cash bail pending extradition to New Jersey.
Rieger was charged with aggravated manslaughter Sept. 16 after his daughter died. Rieger was also transferred from custody in Delaware to the county jail.
During Friday’s proceedings, Pancari entered pleas of not guilty on behalf of Rieger. Pancari also said he had no comment regarding his client’s bail, a matter that would be dealt with later.
Pancari said the Prosecutor’s Office will give him all pre-indictment discovery, or evidence, regarding Rieger’s case.
“Right now, I don’t have anything in front of me,” Pancari said.
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