Father wanted on murder warrant in connection with infant’s death is now in custody, EPD confirms

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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The father of an infant child whose death is being investigated by the Evansville Police Department was taken into custody Friday, following a search which began on Thursday.

Jacob Wesley Bengert was taken into custody in Evansville near Fares and Maxwell.

Mug shot from 01-10-2020
Courtesy: Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office
Pictured: The scene where Jacob Wesley Bengert was taken into custody by Evansville police on Friday, January 10, 2020.

Bengert was wanted on a murder warrant in connection with his child’s death.

Today, new documents shed some light on the graphic nature of the infant’s injuries and death. Vanderburgh County Coroners say the infant, Kieran Bengert, died after suffering massive multiple blunt force trauma.

Police returned to the house and the neighborhood today, the day after the infant was found dead.

“I think if something happened to kids like that, they shouldn’t get by with it,” said Gloria Hutchison, who lives down the street. She’s lived in the area for four decades, but never heard of anything like yesterday’s reported death until police told her what happened. 

“Nothing like this at all,” she said.

In the affidavit, the baby suffered severe facial injuries, burns to the face and chest, and what looked like cigarette burns on the hands and feet. The mother, Chelsea Marksberry, told police she saw the child in a bouncy seat next to the bed with a bottle propped up by a blanket in his mouth, and thought he was asleep. When she woke up the next morning, Bengert grabbed her, said he was sorry, and claimed to have tried c-p-r the night before. Evansville Police Sgt. Nick Winsett says Jacob fled after she called 911. 

“Obviously, a lot of people aren’t really willing to help him,” he said, referring to Jacob Bengert after he left the home. Marksberry also detailed past drug use to investigators, including buying and using heroin and Xanax in the hours and weeks before the baby’s death.

After the death was reported, several tips came to police about possible sightings for Bengert, including at a gas station on East Franklin Street Thursday morning and a sighting in the 1700 block of East Michigan Thursday evening.

“It was a friend of his that he saw in a vehicle, and he approached this friend saying, ‘Hi, I need help.’ and he told him, ‘No, I’m not going to help you.’ After he drove off, that’s when he made the call and officers showed up in the area,” he said, describing an instance where Bengert asked for help on East Michigan.

Sgt. Winsett says Bengert was caught after a tipster asked them for a ride, but that person refused and called police after driving off.

Marksberry also made her first court appearance on her charges today. 
She’s held on a $20,000 cash bond and her next hearing is scheduled for January 15th.

Original story

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – A warrant for a murder charge was issued Friday for Jacob Wesley Bengert, the father of an infant child whose death is being investigated by the Evansville Police Department.

The infant child was dead when authorities responded to a home in the 1300 block of E Illinois on Thursday.

Later Thursday, the mother, 32-year-old Chelsea Marksberry, was arrested in connection with the case. She faces a charge of child neglect resulting in death.

Police have been looking for the father, Bengert, since Thursday. Authorities said he left before they arrived at the home.

Bengert is still believed to be in the Evansville area and has been trying to contact friends for help, police said.

Police said Bengert was seen leaving the Conoco Gas Station in the 1900 block of E Franklin St. after 8 a.m. Thursday. Police provided a picture from him exiting the gas station.

Courtesy: EPD

Police also provided a picture of Bengert from around Christmas.

Courtesy: EPD

According to police, Bengert was spotted in the area of 1730 E Michigan as recently as 6 p.m. Thursday.

Police ask anyone who sees Bengert to immediately call 911. Previously, authorities said Bengert has a permit to carry so he could be armed. However, they don’t believe he has access to a vehicle.

The coroner’s office said the child had severe facial injuries, severe burn marks on his face and chest area, and what appeared to be cigarette burn marks on the child’s feet and hands.

The coroner’s office said numerous and various types of injuries were consistent with multiple types of inflicted trauma.

Affidavit: Mother accused of child neglect resulting in death

According to a probable cause affidavit, Marksberry said the victim’s father fled the scene when she called 911.

Marksberry told police that she had used heroin while watching the child.

On Wednesday evening, Marksberry reportedly said she went to work from 4-8 p.m.

When she got home, Marksberry told police Jacob was there with the infant, who was swaddled up and had a blanket hanging over his head.

Bengert had a bottle in the child’s mouth, Marksberry told police.

According to the affidavit, Marksberry asked Bengert if she could go to the tanning bed and he said yes. She went to the tanning bed and got back home around 9:45 p.m.

Marksberry told police Bengert told her he would take care of the victim that night and she could sleep on the opposite side of the bed. She mentioned to police that she thought this was odd but still went to bed.

On Thursday, she told police she reached over to Bengert to check on the victim. She told authorities that the child’s face was dark and when she said the child’s name, Bengert allegedly grabbed and hugged her and began saying he was sorry.

Marksberry told police that Bengert claimed he fell asleep and the child fell off the bed while she was at work. Police also said Bengert told Marksberry that he tried CPR when he realized the child was not breathing while trying to change a diaper.

Police said Marksberry had admitted to using heroin two to three times a week for the last month.

Marksberry told police that Bengert has been using pills for about the same period and smokes marijuana almost daily.

Marksberry told police that Tuesday was the first time she had known Bengert to use heroin.

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(This story was originally published on January 10, 2020)

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