A West Virginia man has been arrested after sexually assaulting his girlfriend's 10-month-old baby.
Amanda Adkins woke up on Oct. 3 at around 5 a.m. and found her baby daughter naked on the basement floor, the WV Gazette Mail reported. She immediately called 911.
When police arrived at the Meadowlark Lane home, they found blankets and clothing covered in blood in the basement, according to a criminal complaint filed in Jackson Magistrate Court.
Police arrested Adkins’ boyfriend, Benjamin Ryan Taylor, 32. As they handcuffed Taylor, police said the suspect was trying to “wipe something” off his groin area, which authorities later determined to be the baby’s blood, WSAZ reported.
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The baby was put on life support. Doctors at Charleston Area Medical Center pronounced the infant brain-dead on Oct. 5. Family members gathered to support Adkins.
“Amanda’s main concern was that there was going to be some miraculous event and that [the baby] is going to open her eyes,” Danielle Adkins, Amanda’s cousin, told the WV Gazette Mail. “I just think reality just hasn’t hit her yet.”
According to the criminal complaint, Taylor took the infant to the basement and sexually assaulted her while the family slept upstairs. He was originally charged with first-degree sexual assault, but Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs said the charge will be upgraded to murder.
“I’ve been here 25 years, and we’ve never encountered something of this nature,” Boggs said. “I don’t know if we’ve had anything like this near here.”
Doctors said the infant, later identified as Emmaleigh Barringer, died from traumatic injuries that were likely suffered several hours before she was found.
Danielle said Amanda had known Taylor for just a short period of time. She said they met when she moved to West Virginia from Maryland over the summer.
“She went down there to start over,” Danielle said. “Baltimore isn’t the safest place; it’s just not. I understood why she wanted to bring her kids to West Virginia. She went there to start over.”
Adkins’ three other children were not harmed in the incident, Boggs said.