Montgomery County

Baby Girl Dies After Sexual Assault; Father Charged

Austin Stevens, 29, of Lower Providence Township, was arrested and charged with involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, rape of a child and other related offenses. 

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A baby girl died after she was raped by her father, who waited for an hour to call 911 at his Montgomery County home, investigators said.

Austin Stevens, 29, of Lower Providence Township, was arrested and charged with involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, rape of a child, aggravated assault, aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child and other related offenses. 

Austin Stevens

On Saturday at 10:40 p.m., police were called to a home on the 3400 block of Germantown Road in Lower Providence Township, Pennsylvania, for a report of an unresponsive infant. When they arrived they found Stevens with his unresponsive 10-month-old daughter Zara Scruggs. Scruggs was taken to Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, where she was pronounced dead at 12:12 a.m. on Sunday.

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Investigators searched Stevens’ phone and found he conducted several Google searches for nearly an hour before calling 911. 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,” investigators said. 

Police said Stevens also spoke with two women via texts and social media during the hour before calling 911 about topics unrelated to his child. 

An autopsy conducted on Sunday determined Zara was the victim of sexual assault and suffered blunt force trauma to the head. The cause and manner of death is still pending.

“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,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said. 

Stevens was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility after failing to make $1 million bail. His preliminary hearing is scheduled for Oct. 13. 

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