NIAGARA FALLS, NY – A South Avenue family is relieved on two counts tonight.
First, its youngest member continues to improve after being severely injured, allegedly at the hands of a man left to babysit him in October.
Now comes word that the person accused of hurting the child, is under arrest.
After searching for him for nearly three months, police arrested Marcel Brooks, 25, at a home on Box Street in Buffalo on Tuesday.
Brooks was wanted in connection with the apparent shaking of Devyn Grabowski, who was 22 months old when he had been left in Brooks’ care.
Brooks has been charged with several felony counts of assault.
“When I found out I was grateful," said the child’s father, Jeff Grabowski. “Hopefully he gets a long time (in prison) so he never does this to anybody else."
According to Grabowski, Devyn had been sent on a scheduled weekend visit with his mother, from whom Grabowski is estranged.
He believes at one point, due to the work schedules of the adults in the home where Devyn was staying, Brooks, who he described as his “baby mother’s sister’s boyfriend”, was left to watch the child.
Grabowski recalled later getting a phone call, advising him that his son was rushed to a nearby hospital because he had “been injured”.
Doctors soon advised police of their suspicions that Devyn’s fractured back and brain injuries were not likely caused by a fall down a few stairs as they had been told.
As police began searching for Brooks, Grabowski recalls his son was perilously close to dying and had been placed on life support.
He and the child's mother then had to make a decision no parent would ever have to consider.
“Me and his mother were going to let him go…so he didn’t have to suffer anymore,” Grabowski told WGRZ-TV.
Devyn, however, apparently wasn’t ready.
“They took him off the breathing treatment...but then he started breathing on his own," Grabowski recalled.
After more than two months of staying in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, Devyn was finally allowed to come home with his father four days after Christmas.
"My son is definitely a miracle baby… I did not think he was ever going to come out of a hospital bed again," Grabowski said.
Due to his injuries Devyn, whose father says used to “run around the house”, cannot currently walk without braces, or see anything but shadows, and is still nourished through a feeding tube.
He is also undergoing almost daily physical and speech therapy in order to aid him in his recovery.
But the child still has a long way to go, and in truth there are no guarantees, and uncertainty surrounding what kind of permanent disabilities he may be left with.
The only thing that does appear certain, is that Devyn is one tough little kid.
"My message to all the parents out there is to be very careful as to who you let watch our child,” Grabowski said.