Baby’s father files complaint for wrongful deathPOSTED: 01/5/16 7:11 PM
Bulldog Loki that killed Alex Hodge was aggressive
St. Maarten / By Hilbert Haar – John Hodge, father of the 7-month old baby boy Alex who was killed by an American bulldog on Sunday, has filed a complaint for wrongful death against the child’s mother Fay and her parents.
“If you look around the world, nowhere can something like this happen without consequences,” Hodge told this newspaper yesterday. “I want justice. I don’t want any money from anybody, but I don’t feel comfortable with all this.”
Hodge, an IT-technician, says that he had the feeling nothing was going on at the prosecutor’s office yesterday with the case. His attorney Geert Hatzmann advised him to take his story to the media.
Press prosecutor Karola van Nie told this newspaper that no decision had been taken yet about prosecuting the grandparents who were minding the baby. “We are still busy with an investigation into the facts of the case. First we want to determine what exactly happened.”
That information made the 37-year-old father feel a bit better: “Now it seems that things are going in a positive direction,” he said.
Baby boy Alex was Hodge’s only child. He does not live with the mother, Fay van der Sar who gave him a hard time with visiting rights. “Sometimes she allowed me to see him for an hour or so at the Greenhouse,” Hodge says. “But I was in the process of getting visiting rights. We were almost there. I would have loved to have my son during the weekends.”
Yesterday afternoon Hodge went to the police to file a complaint for the wrongful death of his son. From his statement to the police – of which this newspaper obtained a copy – it appears that the father first heard that something was amiss around 11.15 a.m. on Sunday morning when his child’s mother called him. “I could not understand what she was saying, she sounded very frantic,” Hodge said. “All I understood was that something had happened to Alex, that something was broken and that it was caused by their dog – a bulldog called Loki.”
At the St. Maarten Medical Center, Fay told Hodge that the baby’s skull was cracked in multiple places. When he saw his son, he was bleeding from his head and his ears. Preparations were made to fly Alex out for medical treatment abroad, but it was not to be.
Twenty minutes after Hodge understood that the baby’s heart was functioning just fine, he went into intensive care where his condition rapidly deteriorated.
“The doctors started giving him oxygen, blood and adrenaline shots, but nothing seemed to work. Afterwards Alex was pronounced dead. When I saw that he had passed away, I held him up and I kissed him,” Hodge stated to the police.
To this newspaper he said yesterday: “That was the most difficult and painful moment.”
To say that Hodge was distraught is a huge understatement. The father who wanted so much to be there for his son was heartbroken.
To add insult to injury, it appears that the American bulldog at the baby’s grandparents place was not exactly the ideal house pet.
Hodge’s mother Michelle, who was present at the interview with Today, says that she did not dare to go to the house, because she was afraid of the dog, and Hodge confirms this. “I have been around this dog in the past. I was very scared of him because he is very intimidating. I saw that he would act very aggressive, especially when someone approached the house.”
Nevertheless, Hodge told the police, the dog would be allowed to run up and down the house. “This dog has even bitten Fay in the past because there was another dog in the house,” he said.
“When Alex was born, Fay as well as her parents promised me not to let the dog anywhere near my son. My mother also told them not to let the dog around my son. I feel that this is complete negligence on the part of Fay and her parents.”
Attorney Geert Hatzmann supports his client’s wish for prosecution. “If need be we will initiate a procedure at the Common Court of Justice to force the prosecutor’s office to prosecute. Right now it seems like they are treating this as an accident,” the attorney said. At the moment of his statement he was unaware of the prosecutor’s position that no decision has been taken yet and that an investigation into what exactly happened is underway.