CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – The father of a one month old baby was denied bond Saturday at his first court appearance, one day after he was charged with First Degree Murder in the death of his infant child.
According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, Janus Saintil, 24, of Deerfield Beach, killed his son Josiah Saintil when he put the child in the trunk of a stolen car while the baby was still strapped into his car seat, then covered him with a diaper bag and blanket.
Saintil, the baby’s body, and the stolen car were all found in Coral Springs on Friday hours after an Amber Alert was issued for the child.
Saintil has also been charged with Armed Carjacking, Armed Kidnapping, Aggravated Battery with a deadly weapon and a pre-existing Armed Robbery arrest.
CBS4 News has also learned that Santil may have killed his son because the baby’s mother, Claudia Harriot, broke up with him on Thursday.
According to the police report, Saintil was with Harriot, Marissa Murray, Andrew Pennant and the baby in the parking lot of a North Lauderdale Walmart on Thursday night. While inside a black Kia, Saintil and Harriot got into an argument over their relationship.
Saintil, said police, pulled a gun and threatened everyone in the car.
CBS4’s Tiffani Helberg spoke to 22-year-old Marissa Murray.
“I was just praying and I was just cooperating and I didn’t want to make any sudden moves cause I felt like he was in all our heads,” said Murray as she recounted the horrifying ordeal. “He must have lost it or something. I don’t know what went on in his mind. He pulled out a gun and held us hostage.”
BSO detectives said Saintil ordered Murray to drive to a home in Port St. Lucie.
“He told me ‘Whatever I do just keep driving or I’ll kill you all’ and he pistol whipped Andrew. That’s when we realized this is real.”
She said throughout the course of the long drive up I-95, Saintil beat Pennant with his gun and did the same to his former girlfriend, the baby’s mother Claudia Harriot.
“He would tell me to turn up the music so he could beat up on Claudia in the back and we couldn’t hear anything,” said Murray.
She said while she drove, she watched the ordeal unfold through the rear view mirror. Eventually, Saintil ordered her to stop at a home in Port St. Lucie.
“When we got to the first house he said, “Don’t go anywhere I’m not done with you all and he took the keys from the car and he took the baby in the house and he came back,” said Murray.
Without the baby, the drive continued.
“There were songs he would play, but it was like messages to us like telling us what he was gonna do, like he told us he was gonna make the news and told us that we’re all gonna die.”
The group drove to another house then ultimately to a Hess Gas station where he ordered Pennant to withdraw cash from an ATM.
“He told Andrew, ‘I’m gonna get out with you’ and at that moment that’s when Andrew said ‘I’m done I’m not doing that I’m not giving you no money’.”
After he refused, Pennant yelled for help, which prompted Saintil to take off in the black, four-door Kia Spectra, which belonged to Murray’s mother.
Before he left, however, he told Harriot that he was going to kill their baby, according to the police report.
“He told my brother, he told me, that he said the devil was after his child like the devil wanted his child and I guess he had to sacrifice his child,” said Murray.
Alone in the car, police said, Saintil drove back to the first house, picked up Josiah, then drove back to Broward County.
Late Friday morning, an Amber Alert was issued for Josiah. State officials said in the alert that Saintil was armed and dangerous and had a lengthy criminal history and an outstanding warrant for Armed Robbery.
BSO said Coral Springs Police developed information along with the U.S. Marshal’s Service that Saintil might be headed to an apartment complex at 11000 Royal Palm Boulevard in Coral Springs.
Shortly after 3:00 p.m., he arrived and parked right next to a police officer who was looking for him.
Investigators say Saintil was arrested without incident.
“By the time that he opened the door he didn’t have a chance to do anything,” said Coral Springs Police Chief Tony Tustizzi. “Thank God he didn’t fight.”
The officer searched the car and discovered little Josiah’s body in the trunk underneath a diaper bag and blanket. Josiah was still strapped into his car seat.
A loaded gun was also found in the car, states the police report.
A woman, Talia Rodriguez, was with Saintil in the car and taken into custody for questioning.
She told police, states the report, Saintil showed up at her apartment late Thursday night. She stated he was very emotional and they sat in the car for about a half hour talking about their relationship. She said Josiah was in the car and she was “playing” with the baby.
Rodriguez told police Saintil left around 12:30 a.m. with Josiah but returned a half hour later and spent the night in her apartment. Josiah was not with him when he returned, she told police.
Police believe Saintil simply put the baby in the trunk of the car of the car while in his car seat where he died.
Rodriguez even drove in the car with Saintil on Friday afternoon and told police she did not know the baby was in the trunk.
The Broward County Medical Examiner took the child’s body to perform an autopsy and determine how the child died.
BSO said Josiah’s cause of death is “pending,” but it was ruled a homicide.
“It was almost like this baby was carelessly discarded inside the trunk,” said Broward Sheriff Al Lamberti. “Total lack of respect for the baby’s life. Very tragic and if you’re a parent it’s got to tug at your heartstrings.”
Josiah’s mother was also taken in for questioning but investigators say she was a victim in all this.
People who witnessed the crime scene unfold right across from their homes said Harriott’s heart must be broken.
BSO detectives want to speak to anyone who may have seen Saintil after midnight Friday. Anyone with information can call Broward Crime Stoppers at (954) 493-TIPS or call Det. Curcio at (954) 321-4210.