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Father, 58, charged with death of infant son 39 years after boy died

1984 Homicide Investigation – On February 15, 2023, detectives with the Prince William County Police Department’s Violent Crimes Bureau charged a 58-year-old man in connection with the death of his infant son which stemmed from an incident that occurred at the family’s then-residence located in the 9600 block of Lafayette Ave in Manassas (20109) in November 1984. The investigation was reopened in September 2021 after additional information was obtained in the case.

The initial investigation revealed on Nov. 29, 1984, the victim, a 3-month-old boy, was in the care of the accused, who was then 20 years of age, at their residence in Manassas when, at some point, the child allegedly began experiencing breathing problems. The accused took the victim to an area hospital for evaluation where the child’s condition was determined to need further care at Children’s National Hospital in Washington D.C. While receiving treatment in Washington D.C., the victim died a few days later.

In December 1984, an autopsy was completed by the medical examiner’s office in Washington D.C. where it was determined the child had died from severe retinal hemorrhaging and swollen brain which was deemed to have been cause by the accused shaking the victim. At the time of the initial police investigation, the medical examiner classified the death as undetermined, and based on the medical findings, prosecution was not sought by the then-Commonwealth’s Attorney for Prince William County.

In September 2021, the accused was stopped by law enforcement in Maryland on an unrelated matter where additional information was obtained that prompted a reexamination of the case.

Following the recent review of the investigation consistent with current medical expertise, the medical examiner’s office in Washington D.C. reclassified the cause of death as a homicide. Following the investigation, the accused, identified as Samuel Harry DICOLA, was charged. The accused remains incarcerated on an unrelated matter at the Rappahannock Regional Jail where he will remain until transported to Prince William County. Based on current Virginia law, the identity of the (infant) victim will not be disclosed by law enforcement due to his age at the time of his death.

Charged on February 15, 2023:
Samuel Harry DICOLA, 58, of no fixed address
Charged with murder
Court Date: April 11, 2023 | Status: Incarcerated

First Sergeant Jonathan Perok

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