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Mother, boyfriend denied bond in toddler murder case

Adam Garber

Adam Garber

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Elizabeth Calvo

LAWRENCEVILLE — New testimony from a Gwinnett County police detective offered further insight into previous abuse allegations against Elizabeth Calvo, the young mother charged in the December death of her 2-year-old son.

Gwinnett County Superior Court Judge Keith Miles denied bond Tuesday for Calvo, 21, and her boyfriend, 25-year-old Adam Garber. Both were charged with murder after 2-year-old Aiden Calvo died on Dec. 16, the result of bleeding in his brain and the alleged culmination of long-term abuse. Doctors and the Gwinnett County medical examiner reported a litany of other “non-accidental” injuries, including skull fractures and bruising over most of the toddler’s body.

The couple had moved from New York to their Norcross apartment just two days prior to Aiden’s death. Vague hints of issues up north were confirmed Tuesday by Gwinnett County Police Det. Sheila McMillan — at least partly.

According to McMillan’s testimony, Calvo had a fight with her mother sometime in 2009 and stayed the following weekend with a friend. Calvo’s now-5-year-old child was in tow.

That friend reportedly observed the following and called Child Protective Services:

— Calvo didn’t change her son’s diaper all weekend. The child had “bleeding” diaper rash.

— Calvo prepared food for herself but not for her child. She once “threw a bag of chips” into his playpen while passing.

— Calvo picked the child up by one arm, hitting him with her other hand.

McMillan said that New York Child Protective Services had fielded claims against Calvo involving both of her children, but that local authorities didn’t know the details or frequency of those reports.

“We don’t have the actual records yet,” McMillan said.

Calvo reportedly told Gwinnett police that any incidents in New York were unfounded.

Garber, who moved from Las Vegas to New York in late November, told authorities that he had called New York Child Protective Services three times over concerns involving Calvo and her children. Those claims have not been verified, McMillan said.

McMillan also revealed that the medical examiner had explored the possibility of one of the two fractures in Aiden Calvo’s skull being from a previous incident because it “looked different.” The results of further examination were unclear Tuesday.

Garber’s defense attorneys, Ed Gardner and Kristen Novay, made it clear Tuesday that they intend to pin Calvo as the true perpetrator. Gardner lingered on Calvo’s alleged history and hounded McMillan about previously disclosed Google searches found on Garber’s phone — queries like “I can’t stop hitting my kid” and various forms of human torture.

“You don’t know who was using the phone for those Internet searches, correct?” Gardner asked.

“It was his phone,” McMillan responded.

Garber’s long-divorced parents — one residing in Las Vegas, the other in New York — both testified on their son’s behalf Tuesday. Keith Garber described his son as “an angel” around his stepmother’s several young children.

Both parents verified what Gardner described as an “extraordinary combination” of medical complications survived by the defendant. Garber was reportedly given an anti-clotting medication called coumadin on his first night in the Gwinnett County jail and was subsequently sent to the hospital.

Despite Novay’s contentions that Garber is “simply not receiving adequate treatment” in the jail, the judge denied bond and said the issue could be taken up through other channels.

At the time of his death, Aiden Calvo’s injuries included: “several fingerprint bruises” on his back; a hand print on his buttocks; a bruised jaw; forehead bruising; a fractured skull; bleeding in his nose and stomach; bruising to his penis and scrotum; bite marks to his fingers; diaper rash with skin breakdown, “possibly from scalding”; and a subdural hematoma causing bleeding to his brain.