A Missouri man arrested for shaking his 8-week-old baby girl on Oct. 3 is now being charged with second-degree murder and child abuse after the child died on Oct. 6.
James Church, 39, is accused of abusing his daughter since possibly as early as Aug. 23. He was initially charged with first-degree domestic assault and three counts of first-degree child abuse for the injuries inflicted on Iris Church.
The coroner concluded that Iris died from trauma to the head, as well as broken ribs. The probable cause statement said he was watching Iris alone in his house on Oct. 3. He called 911 after the child stopped breathing.
Church told authorities he was irritated with the girl and shook her for about 10 seconds before dropping her about chest high onto an inflatable couch, according to KSPR.
“He explained he took about two steps and heard a loud thud on the floor,” a detective wrote in the statement. “James stated he turned around and found Iris on the wood floor.”
“He noticed it was taking her approximately five or six seconds between breaths,” the probably cause statement goes on the say. “James then picked her up and removed her onesie and listened for a heartbeat. At this point James noticed Iris was not breathing at all. This is when James ran next door to try to obtain help.”
When no one answered, Church went back to his house, called 911 and started CPR on the child. Once the child was transported to the hospital, medical experts noticed severe wounds to Iris’ body.
“Hospital staff also stated there was so much trauma to her brain and internal organs, she was being transported by flight to a nearby children’s hospital more equipped to deal with her traumatic injuries,” the probable cause statement says. “While waiting for the flight, Iris had to be ‘brought back’ to life multiple times. Hospital staff reported she had a 50-50 chance of making it through the flight.”
If convicted, Church could face life in prison, according to KRBK.