Montgomery County

Montgomery County Dad Charged in 6-Week-Old Daughter's Death

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A Montgomery County father has been arrested and charged with murder in the death of his 6-week-old daughter.

Craig Baylis, 31, of West Norriton Township, is charged with third-degree murder and endangering the welfare of a child in the February death of Mackenna Baylis.

Police began the investigation after responding to a 911 call from the girl’s mother around noon on Feb. 22. She had gone out earlier that morning to a doctor’s appointment and left Mackenna in her father’s care, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office said in a press release.

Shortly before noon, police said, Baylis called Mackenna’s mom to tell her that the baby had fallen and her nose was bleeding but that “she was fine.” The woman returned home to find Baylis cradling their daughter, but she noticed the child looked gray, had a bruise on her ear and appeared “lifeless,” according to a criminal complaint.

Mackenna’s mother called 911 and began administering CPR, according to prosecutors. A responding officer took over CPR until an ambulance arrived and rushed the girl to Einstein Montgomery Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 12:55 p.m.

Police said Baylis initially told them he had put Mackenna to sleep and then left her on the bed as he went to the bathroom around 11:30 a.m. He said that while he was in the bathroom, he heard a “thump” and rushed back to find the girl face-down on the floor and crying. Baylis told detectives he then picked up the girl and cradled her until she “went to sleep,” police said.

According to the criminal complaint, Baylis then changed his story and admitted that he had fallen asleep on his back, with Mackenna on his chest. He told detectives that he woke up to find the baby face-down with her head between his chest and arm, the court document indicated.

A forensic neuropathologist examined the child’s brain and found “numerous” hemorrhages, or ruptured vessels, “in multiple areas of the brain and eyes, the prosecutor’s office said.

Dr. Ian Hood, a forensic pathologist with county coroner's office, examined the neuropathologist’s findings and determined Mackenna’s cause of death was head trauma caused by “vigorous movement of the head while relatively fixed in relation to the neck,” prosecutors said. The death was ruled a homicide.

Baylis was denied bail and is being held in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility pending trial. Online court records did not list an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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