18-Month-Old Child Dies after Alleged Assault

SCRANTON, Pa. -- An 18-month-old child severely injured after police say he was assaulted by his mother's boyfriend has died.

The boy died Tuesday morning, according to Scranton police.

Christopher Mele, 32, of Scranton is charged with criminal attempted homicide, strangulation, aggravated assault, and related charges after allegedly assaulting the child on Monday in a home on North Bromley Avenue in Scranton.

Scranton police interviewed Mele at police headquarters Monday night, and what he had to say was disturbing.

Mele was at home with his girlfriend and her 18-month-old son, and when she went upstairs to take a shower. Mele admits to hitting and strangling the little boy until he went limp.

The boy, named Chance, later died of his injuries.

Scranton police detectives interviewed Mele Monday night. He said the baby wasn't crying; he just attacked.

Mele said, "She went up to the shower, and I started messing with him. I hit the baby in the face, grabbed him by the throat. He stopped breathing, I hit the baby on both sides of his face then strangled the baby."

He explained that this wasn't the first time he's hurt the boy. He said, "I headbutted Chance last week and messed with him a lot of times. I would hit him in the face and head and grab him hard. I strangled Chance before, and I stopped as Chance was losing consciousness."

"In 28 years of law enforcement, this is probably the worst crime that I've seen against a child," said Scranton Police Chief Carl Graziano. "Every crime against a child is bad, but this is, in 28 years, one of the worst I've seen."

Chief Graziano says they'll continue to investigate to see if Mele hurt any of the other children he has lived with.

Neighbors say four other children lived in the home on North Bromley Avenue with the couple and other family members.

"I hope that guy gets what's coming to him. Like, I know him personally, and I would never have thought he would do anything like this to his step-kids, that's what they called him, their stepdad. I mean, it's awful," Megan Smith said.

"A baby's life was lost, a family has to go through the pain. Brothers and sisters won't get to see their baby enjoy their life. They're going to get what they deserved, and I send the deepest condolences out to the family," said neighbor Fabian Rodriguez.

The boy was listed in critical condition at Geisinger Medical Center near Danville before his death on Tuesday.

Mele was arraigned on several charges Monday night and is locked up inside the Lackawanna County Prison.

Police say the next step is to upgrade the charges against Christopher Mele. That might happen when he's due for his first court appearance next week.

27 comments

    • Rusty Knyffe

      Just curious, which family are you sending out prayers for? It is the 18 month old that was killed that needs the prayers, really. The mother opted to allow the killer of her child into her home and life. She’s a victim, too? Well, this is how it goes: play stupid games, win stupid prizes, and giving a violent criminal ANY chance to behave in a normal fashion is simply cognitive dissonance.

  • Kim Schmidt

    This animal should have never been able to be paroled after the 2017 charges of strangling his girlfriend and telling her babies come watch your mother get murdered. Now a innocent child has died when is enough enough when will parole stop giving Scumbag’s like him a hundred chances? I’m not a firm believer of death row but he deserves to die a slow miserable painful death for what he has done. I blame the state too for this cause if they would have never let him out On state parole after all he has done over the years this would have never happened to that innocent baby. Every dog gets their day his Day will be coming soon now. Once he is out in gen pop he will get what he deserves. State parole needs to stop letting violent criminals out of jail. They deserve to be locked up and the key thrown away.

    • savescrantonhistory

      I said just about the same thing and got my comment deleted, Kim. Hopefully this fine human being has a chance to be somebodies toy at the state level for a little while.

  • Rusty Knyffe

    This is what I typed with 52 UP votes and 5 DOWN. In my wildest imaginings, I cannot fathom why anyone would support an animal like this – this guy is simply an animal and his calm description of his “alleged” crimes against a helpless and vulnerable child is so disturbing that I can only picture, “Psycho,” where he’s concerned. And, the mother of this poor soul (that, being the victim and not the perpetrator)? Is she an idiot, or just desperate?

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

    Oh, my effing gawd. This guy’s admission of his guilt is just bone-chilling. That he freely admitted to torturing an 18-month-old baby with such indifference is a clear and solid indication that he needs to be taken OUT of society, entirely. Period. Out. Behind the courthouse. One shot. Godalmighty

    • Rusty Knyffe

      Agreed. 100%. This kind of depravity is what our current liberal agenda (everyone’s fine) has produced. No values, no morals, no conscience. Definitely, put it out of our misery.

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