NSA official charged with beating death of adopted son, 3

Brian O'Callaghan, 36, of Damascus, Md., is charged in the beating death of his three-year-old adopted son
Montgomery County police

DAMASCUS, Md. - A Maryland man, who CBS News has been told was an intelligence community official who worked at the NSA, has been charged with first-degree murder and child abuse resulting in the death of his 3-year-old adopted son, according to Montgomery County police.

Brian Patrick O’ Callaghan, 36, of Damascus, Md., was working at the National Security Agency when he was arrested Feb. 16, officials tell CBS News.

CBS affiliate WUSA reports O'Callaghan was chief of the agency's Korea division.


 The child, Hyunsu O’ Callaghan, died Feb. 3, and a medical examiner ruled his death a homicide by multiple blunt force injuries. According to court documents, Hyunsu was unresponsive when O’ Callaghan took him to a Germantown emergency room Feb. 1. The boy was transported to the Children’s National Medical Center in Wash., D.C., where doctors told police he had bleeding in the brain and hemorrhaging in the eyes, and that they were concerned the boy could be brain dead.

The injuries showed that Hyunsu was recently beaten, doctors told police.

“These types of injuries are consistent with acute head trauma and Brian O’Callaghan could not provide an explanation that would cause this type of medical distress to Hyunsu,” read the documents.

The boy was adopted from Korea and had been in the United States since October of 2013, according to the documents.

O’ Callaghan told police that the child had slipped in the bathtub Jan. 31, falling backward and hitting his shoulder. The next day, after an outing with O’ Callaghan’s biological son Aiden, O’ Callaghan said he noticed mucus coming from the boy’s nose when he checked on him as he took a nap. He also noticed a pink stain on the bedding, according to the documents.

As he cleaned Hyunsu’s nose and changed the bedding, the boy did not wake up, according to the documents.

When O’ Callaghan’s checked on him an hour later, he told police there was a large amount of mucous coming from the boy’s nose and he began to vomit, though he remained unresponsive.  O’ Callaghan said he then drove the boy to the Germantown emergency room.

The boy’s injuries included a skull fracture with bleeding on the front and back of the brain with multiple impacts to the head. His body also showed multiple contusions, and there was evidence of impact trauma on the boy’s scrotum, according to the documents.

Tuesday, O’ Callaghan was ordered held without bail, reports WUSA.

In court, his attorney, Steven McCool, described the boy’s death as “a tragedy, not a crime,” reports the Washington Post.

“[O'Callaghan] has the unwavering support of his family, they know he is incapable of committing the crimes alleged,” McCool said after the hearing, the Post reports.

William Rose, O’Callaghan’s grandfather, told the Post he didn’t think his grandson would hurt the child. He told the paper O’Callaghan and his wife had adopted the boy because they wanted their biological son to have a brother.

“I find it impossible to believe that he’s been indicted for murder because he’s worked so hard to get this baby,” Rose told the paper. “He was so loving with him. He’s been so wonderful with his other child. I’ve never seen him do anything that would make me believe he is capable of that.”

  • Erin Donaghue

    Erin Donaghue covers crime for's Crimesider.