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Dad charged with sexual assault of infant daughter googled "How do you know if a baby is dead" before calling 911

Dad charged with sexual assault of infant daughter googled "How do you know if a baby is dead" before calling 911

Little Zara was left in the care of her father Austin Stevens for the night. Her maternal grandparents were the last people to see her alive.

Trigger Warning: The story has details of child abuse that some readers may find disturbing

In a horrific incident from Pennsylvania, a father has been charged with raping his 10-month old daughter, which eventually caused her death. What's worse is he delayed calling the emergency services, which could have saved her life had he not waited an hour.

According to Daily Mail, Austin Stevens of Providence Township was held responsible for the death of his daughter, Zara Scruggs.



 

The incident came to light after Lower Providence police responded to a call from 3400 block of Germantown Road about an unresponsive child on 3 October, 2020, around 10:40 pm. On arriving at the scene, officials found the baby with Stevens. They administered CPR on the infant and immediately rushed her to the Einstein Medical Center in Montgomery. However, her life could not be saved. Less than two hours of being admitted, the little girl was pronounced dead at 12:12 AM on 4 October, 2020. 

On investigating the cause of death, officials found some harrowing details. The contents of Stevens's phone revealed the 29-year-old had conducted various searches on Google just an hour before calling the emergency services. According to prosecutors, the searches included "If baby stop breathing", "What if you don’t hear baby heart or beat", "My baby isn’t breathing",  and "How do you know if a baby is dead".

Source: GoFund Me page

Besides, the man exchanged messages with two women on social media at the time. However, he did not mention a word about his dying daughter to them. On further investigation, police found the diaper worn by the infant at the time in Stevens's apartment. The DA's office revealed that "the diaper was saturated with blood." Autopsy test results also proved that the infant was subjected to sexual abuse and rape.



 

The results stated that the little child sustained blunt force trauma to the head and an anal rectal trauma. With the evidence against the father, he was charged with aggravated sexual assault, rape of a child, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and other criminal counts, on 6 October, 2020.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele referred to the crime as "heinous" and stated, "This case is deeply disturbing. It is hard to imagine this child’s death being any more traumatic: sexual assault on an infant, followed by inaction by the father to save her life, led to her death." Stevens is now at the county jail on  $1million bail. The football coach is awaiting his preliminary hearing on 13 October, 2020.



 

Zara's mother, Erica Scruggs was devastated to learn about what had happened to her little baby, "I’m not okay. I really have no words ... He will pay." Stevens shared the joint custody of Zara with Erica. According to NBC10, the toddler was last seen alive by her maternal grandparents who placed her in her father's car so she could stay with him for the night.



 

The devastated family set a GoFundMe page for the grieving mother. "She sparked so much joy. She was smart. She was silly. She was sassy. She was perfect. She was a beautiful baby and brought so much beauty into hundreds of lives," stated the GoFund Me page.

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