A New York man pleaded guilty to killing his 1-year-old daughter, who was a cancer survivor.
Ryan Lawrence, 25, pleaded guilty Sept. 15 to first- and second-degree murder after reaching a plea deal with Onondaga County prosecutors, the Daily Mail reported.
Lawrence admitted to beating his 21-month-old daughter, Maddox, to death with a wooden baseball bat, burning her body in a fire pit, tying her remains to a cinder block, and then dumping it in Onondaga Creek in Syracuse, police said.
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Lawrence and Maddox went missing on Feb. 20. Maddox’s mother, Morgan Lawrence, told authorities her husband was supposed to pick her up from work that night, but instead left the car for her in the parking lot.
When Morgan got home, she found a message from her husband that suggested he might harm Maddox and himself. Police issued an Amber Alert the following day.
On Feb. 22, police received a tip from a thrift shop employee who recognized Lawrence in a shop 10 miles outside of Syracuse. They found Lawrence wearing a disguise and took him into custody.
Lawrence confessed to killing Maddox and led police to her body, TWC News reported.
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Maddox had recently beaten eye cancer, WTSM reported.
Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick told WTSM that the child “had been fighting a very unusual form of cancer, and all indications were that she was successful.
“But it was expensive, the treatment, and it was time-consuming. If that contributed to her demise, I don't know.”
“Without going into too much detail, [Ryan Lawrence's] statements allude to almost a sense of jealousy about the attention that this child was getting, as opposed to the attention that he was getting,” Fitzpatrick added.
When asked if Lawrence’s jealousy was a possible motive in the murder, his attorney Michael Vavonese told WTSM:
What I can tell you about that is nothing whatsoever.
And what I've found and what I've looked into and what I've learned, with respect to this matter, indicates that was the situation at all.
It was more of a concern for the type of life Maddox may have experienced as she went on.
And again, those details I can't get into at this point in time, but that was his concern, out of a love in his mind, for Maddox.
He was a dutiful, caring and loving father for every moment of Maddox’s life up through the time this incident occurred.
Lawrence will be sentenced to 25 years to life in October after agreeing to a plea deal.
“Finding out what had happened is certainly as tragic as it gets,” Assistant district attorney Jeremy Cali told TWC News. “The family really articulated clearly today that to have him stand up in court and admit what he did was meaningful. They wanted to see that happen.”