Prince William County police have charged a man with murder in connection to the death of his infant son nearly 40 years ago in Manassas.
Samuel H. Dicola, 58, of no fixed address, was charged this week after the department’s Violent Crimes unit reopened the 39-year-old investigation due to the emergence of new information, the department announced Thursday.
In November 1984, police said Dicola, then 20, was caring for his 3-month-old son at his Manassas home when he took the infant to an area hospital after the child reportedly began experiencing breathing problems.
Needing advanced care, the child was later transported to Children’s National Hospital in Washington, where he died days later. A subsequent autopsy “determined the child had died from severe retinal hemorrhaging and swollen brain which was deemed to have been cause(d) by the accused shaking the victim,” the police report said. The police withheld the child’s identity due to his age at the time of death.
Despite the medical examiner’s findings, the cause of the infant’s death was listed as undetermined, and the prosecutor at the time did not pursue charges.
Then, in September 2021, police in Maryland stopped Dicola for an unrelated matter. During his apprehension, the reasons for which the department did not specify, “additional information was obtained that prompted a reexamination of the case,” the report said.
A review was relaunched, the report said, with medical experts reclassifying the infant’s death as a homicide.
Dicola is currently incarcerated at the Rappahannock Regional Jail on unrelated charges, police said. He will remain there until he is transferred to the detention center in Prince William County. Police said his next court appearance will be April 11.