BALTIMORE (WJZ/AP) — A Maryland family is making funeral arrangements for the 10-month-old girl who died in West Virginia this week after police say her mother’s boyfriend sexually assaulted her.
Benjamin Taylor, 32, of Cottageville, was charged with first-degree murder after the girl died of her injuries at a hospital Wednesday.
He was initially charged Monday with first-degree sexual assault.
A criminal complaint shows the baby had extensive bleeding. The complaint says the injuries indicated a violent sexual assault, as well as shaking or striking of the face.
When deputies went to arrest Taylor, he was seen rubbing his groin area vigorously in an attempt to wipe or rub something, presumably blood from the victim.
Taylor told deputies he took the baby to the basement of an apartment while doing laundry. He said he “blacked out” and didn’t know how the baby’s injuries occurred.
It’s unclear whether Taylor has an attorney.
Amber Lynne Adkins, who contacted WJZ Thursday and identified herself as the baby’s aunt, said the family moved to West Virginia from Pasadena this past summer.
“She was the most pleasant baby in the world,” said Danielle Adkins, cousin of Emmaleigh’s mother. “Now that she’s gone you can’t help but just be angry.”
“It wasn’t enough that he took her innocence? He had to take her life too?” said Adkins.
Family members say the child’s mother grew up here in Pasadena, where funeral arrangements are now being made and 10-month-old Emmaleigh will be laid to rest.
This statement was released to WJZ by the family Thursday:
Our family is devastated by this horrible crime against an innocent child. It is impossible to understand what could bring a person to commit such a violent and deviant act upon a shining light of beauty like our Emmaleigh.
Benjamin Taylor was an intelligent, caring and supportive friend to all of us. In the months that we knew him, he was welcomed into our family like a gift. There were no indications that he was capable of such a brutal and perverted crime.
However, thanks to the Jackson County, WV Sheriff’s Office, the evidence that they have compiled has indicated that he is clearly responsible for the assault and ultimately the death of our baby.
We are certain that he will see justice for his crime and plan to be active in the prosecution.
At this time, we are trying to process this event and it’s resulting circumstances and ask that the media grant our family privacy in order to grieve this enormous loss.
We have set up a GoFundMe account for donations from the public to help the mother and surviving siblings recover from this tragedy and aid in the funeral and burial costs that will be incurred.
(© Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)