The father of a 7-month-old whose body was discovered in the East River pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge of improperly disposing of a corpse.
James Currie appeared briefly in court hours after he returned to New York from Thailand.
Tourists had discovered the baby floating near the Brooklyn Bridge.
The spot where Mason Saldana was pulled from the water is a half-mile from where Currie was caught on surveillance video entering the subway without the infant, court records said. Currie had earlier been seen on video walking near the river with a child carrier, police said.
The child's 36-year-old mother told police she had dropped off the child with Currie, to whom she is not married, and noticed the child was missing only when the baby did not show up at daycare. She called 911 Monday evening. By then, police said, Currie had boarded a flight to Bangkok.
Upon landing, court records said, Currie sent the baby’s mother a series of text messages:
“The good news we will never see each other again,” one of the texts said. “I am not in the USA.”
When asked where he was, Currie allegedly responded, “outside the USA.”
When asked where the baby was, Currie allegedly replied, “You will never see Mason again.”
Currie was escorted back to the U.S. by federal agents with Homeland Security Investigations aboard a Korean Air flight that landed Thursday night at JFK Airport. He was then placed under arrest by the NYPD. The charge of improperly disposing of a corpse is punishable by at least a year in prison and could be upgraded once the medical examiner’s office determines a cause of the child’s death.
Currie was ordered held without bail and is due back in court next week.