PHOENIX - Police arrested a 23-year-old man Thursday night for child abuse after admitting to dropping his baby girl and not giving her appropriate medical attention before she died.
On August 22, Phoenix police arrived at Mario Lee’s residence where he lived with his girlfriend and mother of their baby girl.
When police arrived, Lee was performing CPR on the 6-month-old girl.
The girl was transported to the hospital where she was pronounced deceased.
Hospital staff noted that there were signs of rigor mortis and other signs that the baby had been dead for some time.
Initial examination of the girl’s body indicated no obvious signs of injury.
Lee said in an initial interview that he placed the baby girl and her twin baby brother in separate bassinets to sleep with bottles of formula.
Both babies were given appropriate medication for the colds they had, but were otherwise healthy.
He noted that when he checked on the babies later, the boy was fine, but the girl had red foam coming from her nose.
An autopsy of the baby indicated that there was an impact site and bruise on her scalp, blood in the brain cavity and multiple sites of hemorrhaging.
The medical examiner noted that the injuries appeared severe enough to be “immediately incapacitating” and would have been caused by “a significant amount of force,” according to court documents.
Lee told police in a later interview that he had hit the baby’s back in order to break up phlegm in her airway from her illness, but that he may have panicked and hit her too hard.
Lee said that the baby did not fall on her head and that he did not hit her head, but even later said that the girl accidentally hit her head on the couch while he was clearing the mucus from her throat, court documents say.
On August 29, a fourth interview was conducted and Lee admitted to taking Percocet that day and while walking with the baby girl to the kitchen around 1 p.m., tripped and fell, causing the girl to hit the back of her head on the floor.
Lee told police he picked up the girl and she did not cry, but appeared as if something was wrong. He then laid her in her bassinet, but claimed he didn’t know if she was breathing or not.
Lee did not pick up the baby girl from her bassinet until he saw red foam coming from her nose around 6 p.m. that night, prompting him to call 911.
Court documents show that Lee did not seek medical attention because he was the only adult at the residence at the time of the incident and was afraid of going to jail.
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