An NSA official has been charged in the fatal beating of his 3-year-old adopted son, authorities said.
Brian Patrick O’Callaghan, 36, of Damascus, was arrested Sunday and charged with first-degree murder and child abuse after his son died of injuries to his head, according to Montgomery County Police.
O’Callaghan was head of the National Security Agency’s Korean Division, according to his attorney. NSA officials have not confirmed his employment.
On Feb. 2, Montgomery County police detectives were called to the Children’s National Medical Center in D.C., for a report of a child who was unresponsive and with multiple injuries, including trauma to the brain.
The injuries indicated that the child, Hyunsu O’Callaghan, had been recently beaten, the doctors told detectives.
Hyunsu died the next day.
Detectives interviewed O’Callaghan, who said he and his wife had adopted Hyunsu from Korea in October 2013.
O’Callaghan told police that his wife had gone out of town for two days and he had been the only caregiver for Hyunsu during that time, according to charging documents.
The father told police that on the morning of Feb. 1, he helped Hyunsu take a shower because the child doesn’t like the water hitting him. Hyunsu was upset and crying and fell backwards in the bathtub, he said.
In the afternoon, O’Callaghan said he put Hyunsu down for a nap, and went to check on his son two hours later. The father found pink stains on the bedding and mucus from his nose.
O’Callaghan changed the sheets, but Hyunsu did not wake up. An hour later, O’Callaghan said he went to pick up the boy and he vomited.
The father said he placed Hyunsu in the bathtub, and washed the child, dressed him and drove to an emergency room in Germantown.
The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in the District of Columbia performed an autopsy and determined that the manner Hyunsu’s death was homicide by multiple blunt impact injuries.
The boy suffered a skull fracture with bleeding on front and back of the brain with multiple impacts to the head, according to charging papers.
O’ Callaghan was arrested Sunday and charged with first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.
An obituary posted on the web site of the Frederick News-Post, said Hyunsu was born in South Korea and had joined the O’Callaghan family last October. He was described in the obituary as a “smiling, content, and loving son and brother.”
“He loved his dogs, his big brother Aidan, and anything his parents made for him to eat,” the obituary said. “He wasn’t dealt the simplest hand in life, but he found something to love in it every day.”
In court, O’Callaghan’s lawyer reportedly said his client worked for the National Security Agency as chief of its Korea division.
According to his LinkedIn profile, O’Callaghan once worked in the Senate and was a special advisor for the presidential transition in 2008.
According to military authorities, O’Callaghan was a decorated U.S. Marine. He served with the U.S. Marine Reserves from 1997 to 2004, as an artillery cannoneer.
He was deployed to Kosovo, El Salvador and participated in the Iraq War invasion in 2003, including in operations in Al-Wasit Province, An Nasiriyah, and Al Kut.
He rose to the rank of sergeant, and was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat “V”, Combat Action Ribbon, Navy Unit Commendation, Selected Marine Corps Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Kosovo Campaign Medal with 1 star, and the Iraq Campaign Medal with 2 stars.
He also received the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with 1 star.
Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.