exposing the dark side of adoption
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Author: Mara H. Gottfried, Pioneer Press

Police arrested a St. Paul man Wednesday on suspicion of homicide in the death of a 7-month-old boy the man and his wife recently adopted from Guatemala. Police said the child died of massive head trauma.

Steven D. Showcatally, 34, brought his son, Gustavo Adolfo Hunt, to the St. Paul Children's Hospital emergency room on Tuesday. The boy was injured in the late afternoon, and some time passed before he was taken to the hospital, said St. Paul police spokesman Paul Schnell.

Police were called to the hospital because Showcatally said the boy's injuries were accidental, but they weren't consistent with an accidental fall, Schnell said.

There were no signs of external trauma, and the injuries appeared to be from blunt-force trauma, Schnell said. Gustavo died about 2 1/2 hours after being brought to the hospital.

Investigators determined Showcatally was alone with Gustavo when the injuries happened at the family home at 2023 Grand Ave. Showcatally's wife, Gail Hunt, was at work, Schnell said.

After interviewing Showcatally, police arrested him at about 2 a.m. Wednesday.

"Information gleaned from their discussion provided them with probable cause" to arrest him, Schnell said, declining to comment on what the probable cause was.

Police obtained a search warrant for the home Wednesday, and the crime lab pro-cessed the crime scene, Schnell said.

The Ramsey County medical examiner's office ruled the death a homicide, Schnell said.

Showcatally was being held in the Ramsey County jail.

Neighbors said Showcatally and Hunt have lived in their Grand Avenue townhouse since 1996. They adopted Gustavo from Guatemala at the end of last year.

"He was a delightful child, and they were absolutely delighted to have him," said one neighbor, who wouldn't give her name. "I just can't believe this. Steven is a really nice guy, and they waited for years to get the baby."

Mara H. Gottfried can be reached at mgottfried@pioneerpress.com or 651-228-5262.
2004 Mar 18