Dad’s Tragic Choices Land Him in Prison
Garrett D. Gwizdala, the 25-year-old Bay City father who has obviously been struggling for some time now with the responsibilities of parenthood, and whose tragic choices in the face of those difficulties have led to an unavoidable conclusion, has been sentenced to prison.
Last year, Gwizdala accepted a plea bargain in which the prosecution agreed to dismiss a single charge of second-degree child abuse in return for his no contest plea to charges of first-degree child abuse and assault by strangulation.
On January 26th, Bay County Circuit Judge Harry P. Gill sentenced Gwizdala to two concurrent prison terms, which essentially means that both his sentences will be served at the same time. The first was for 10 to 15 years, and the second was for 15 to 30 years. Although the judge did give Gwizdala credit for 214 days already served, it will be a good long while before this young man gets out.
The reason for this sentence was a tragic incident that took place on June 25th at Gwizdala’s home. Apparently he placed a 911 call seeking medical help for his daughter who wasn’t breathing. In addition to the emergency medical personnel, a sheriff’s deputy responded to the scene and questioned Gwizdala to determine what had happened.
According to the deputy’s statement, Gwizdala at first told him that he had been lying on the couch with the infant on his chest. He claimed that she rolled off and landed on her face on the floor. But when he realized the seriousness of the situation, Gwizdala stopped trying to hide his actions, and told the deputy what had really happened.
Apparently he had been home alone with the baby and grew increasingly frustrated when he couldn’t get the baby to stop crying. Gwizdala later admitted to investigators that he had obstructed her breathing in an effort to get her to stop crying, and had knowingly harmed her in his helpless frustration.
Parenting is very stressful, and dealing with a new baby can be extremely draining and overwhelming, especially for those without a strong support network in place and few pre-learned parenting skills. Know this: every parent struggles. Every parent has hard days, or days that seem unbearable. But don’t give up and don’t give in.
If you are struggling with the responsibilities of parenthood, and need some help or a few pointers or even just someone to talk to, there are many wonderful resources out there for you:
National Parent Helpline