Suspect in baby’s death couldn’t get stories straight, court documents show

6-month-old Chandler Zuch

BATAVIA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Batavia investigators now believe Jeffrey Deats, 28, the Batavia man charged in a 6-month-old child’s death, is not the baby’s biological father, although they are still authenticating a paternity test that would confirm or deny that.

Court documents obtained by News 4, show Deats told police two different stories of how Chandler Zuch died. Deats told police in a sworn statement he took Baby Chandler for the weekend of Dec 13 after picking the infant up from his mother, Michelle Zuch, in Kenmore.

On the ride to Batavia, Deats said Chandler busted his mouth with a toy, and after he told the child’s mother about it, Michelle Zuch showed up at Deats’ home on Olyn Avenue with Batavia police, who determined no foul play had taken place, and left.

Later Saturday night and into Sunday morning, Deats said Chandler was whining and throwing up, so he put the infant in his “bouncy chair” to sleep, but sometime the next morning after Deats laid the baby on a couch, he said the baby died, despite his efforts at CPR.

Deats then changed his story, saying in a separate statement, “During my first statement I had not told the entire truth.”

He then told detectives he was carrying Chandler down the stairs and fell. As Deats tried to break his fall he said Chandler hit his head on the stairs. Deats didn’t tell anyone that he “messed up” because he didn’t want them to “think bad of me”.

On Sunday morning, when Deats’ mother Jacquelyn Deats noticed Chandler was barely breathing, and “when I touched his hands and feet, they were cold,” Deats and his mother called 911.

Batavia Police Chief Shawn Heubusch said, at that point, “EMS personnel found the child to be unresponsive and not breathing. EMS personnel immediately began efforts to revive the child, who was transported to United Memorial Medical Center, in the city, where the child was pronounced dead at 11:20 a.m.”

On Thursday, Deats was charged with one count of Manslaughter in the Second Degree, for “recklessly causing the death of a child”.

STORY | Man charged with the murder of a baby.

Court documents also show, Jacquelyn Deats told police, in a sworn statement, when Chandler’s crying kept Deats awake Saturday night,

“Jeff was really upset. He laid Chandler on the couch and said, ‘Now you go to sleep, you god d*** b******.'”

Deats later instructed her what to tell detectives if they were questioned about the baby’s death.

Authorities performed an autopsy at the Monroe County Medical Examiner’s office, Monday, and preliminary results indicated Chandler suffered multiple injuries to the brain, causing his death.

Jeffrey Deats was charged with second degree manslaughter, and a Batavia city judge has ordered Deats held at the Genesee County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail. Judge Robert Balbick also issued an Order of Protection for Deats’ mother.

A fund to help pay for Chandler’s funeral expenses was started by Michelle’s co-worker’s after news broke.

Deats is scheduled to return to Batavia City Court for a felony hearing on December 24. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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