EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The Evansville Police Department (EPD) has released more details about a neglect case involving a two-week-old baby.
Evansville residents Denaya Harris and Jacob Washington, both 21, were arrested by EPD on Monday for Neglect of a Dependent Causing Death. Police say on February 8, at 9:54 p.m., EPD was dispatched to a medic assist at the 300 block of Washington Avenue. Officers were told that a two-week-old boy was unresponsive and had suffocated. An affidavit says first responders gave emergency medical attention to the victim, but he was pronounced dead after an hour.
Evansville Police tell us the baby’s death on February 9 was originally thought to be accidental. Since then, the Vanderburgh County Coroner’s Office determined the cause to be “abusive head trauma.” Other details the coroner noted were numerous fractures on the victim’s collarbone, ribs and left lower arm. Officials say in addition, there was also a possible fracture on the victim’s lower leg.
Authorities say Washington told them that around February 2, he had the victim sitting in a baby rocker on the bedroom floor. Washington said he accidentally bumped into the rocker, which caused the victim to fall out of the swing and land on his front side. Washington said that the victim did not cry after this and appeared to be fine, but he noticed changes in the victim’s breathing after this incident. EPD detectives asked Washington if he had sought treatment for the victim after this and he said that he did not.
EPD says, however, Harris recalled an incident that occurred on February 6 and said that both she and Washington had bumped into the rocker that the victim was laying in. Harris said that after the victim had fallen onto the ground, he began crying until Washington calmed him down. Harris said that after this incident, the victim stopped feeding and had breathing difficulties. She also said that the victim was sensitive to touch after this incident, despite this sensitivity not being present before the accident.
Detectives say Washington told them about another incident that occurred on February 8 where he and Harris had been playing with the victim on their bed. Washington said that the victim suddenly became unresponsive, and that he could feel the victim’s heart beating, but he had stopped breathing. Washington said that he gave chest compressions and mouth to mouth resuscitation to the victim, which helped the victim regain his breathing. EPD says Washington told them that the victim had thrown up that morning, and that he and Harris did not seek medical attention or tell anyone about the incident. Police say Harris told them she noticed the puke, had concerns about the baby’s health, but didn’t seek medical treatment.
Harris and Washington are being held without bond at the Vanderburgh County Jail.