UPDATE: Father Waits Day to Report Son's Death

By: WSAZ News Staff Email
By: WSAZ News Staff Email
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UPDATE 5/23/14 @ 9:15 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- More information has been released on what happened to a baby found dead inside a car in Kanawha City.

Robert "Jeremy" Smith, 33, of Hurricane, is charged with child abuse causing death. He was arraigned on the charge by video conference from jail Thursday morning.

Smith's baby, just five weeks old, was found dead in a car along Venable Avenue in Kanawha City about 3 p.m. Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint, when police responded to the 911 call, Smith got out of the car and said "the baby is dead, I killed the baby."

During an interview with police, Smith said he was watching his son, Madden, at a home on Shank Avenue in Hurricane, Wednesday, when he heard him crying.

According to the complaint, Smith went to check on his son in a bedroom and found Madden lying on the floor where he had placed him earlier. Smith told police he bent over to pick up Madden from the floor, when Madden was about chest high, Smith says he lost his grip and Madden fell to the floor, according to the complaint. Smith says Madden was gasping for air and then he didn't feel a pulse.

According to the criminal complaint, Smith said he wrapped Madden in a blanket and didn't call 911 or anyone else to tell them what happened.

According to the criminal complaint, Smith later admitted to shaking Madden, but only after he was asked.

Police say Smith knew his son was dead within minutes, however, he did not notify anyone of the condition of his injury until 27 hours later, at the time of the 911 call.

Police say Smith talked to the baby's mother during that time, but never mentioned what happened to their son. Police say he also slept during that time.

Smith told police that he didn't originally call 911 because he was afraid he would get into trouble, according to the complaint.

Police say the body of Madden felt malleable to the touch when they found him Wednesday, more so than the typical soft skulls of infants his age, and he had an apparent abrasion on his forehead.

According to the criminal complaint, Madden appeared to have suffered multiple skull fractures.

Madden's body was sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for the cause of death.

During Smith's arraignment, his bond was set at $500,000.

Smith was also taken to the hospital before he was arrested Wednesday night. Police say he tried to hurt himself before the 911 call was made about his son's death.

Charleston Police say Smith had previously faced two separate child neglect charges, one in Putnam County and one in Kanawha County, and both were dismissed. They say he'd also been convicted of domestic battery in Charleston in 2007.

Smith declined WSAZ.com's request for an interview.

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/22/14 @ 7:30 a.m.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- The father of an infant who was found dead inside a car in Charleston is expected to be arraigned on criminal charges Thursday morning.

Charleston Police took Robert "Jeremy" Smith into custody late Wednesday after he was released from the hospital.

This all started Wednesday afternoon, when Smith and his baby, only weeks old, were found inside a car in the 38-hundred block of Venable Avenue in Kanawha City.

Police say the child was dead and Smith had suffered from a self inflicted injury. Smith was taken to the hospital.

Police say their investigation shows the baby died in Hurricane.

Investigators executed a search warrant late Wednesday at a house on Shank Avenue in Hurricane. The house belongs to the child's grandmother, according to police. Investigators haven't released what or if they found anything inside the home connected to the case.

An autopsy will be completed on the infant to determine more about the cause of death.

The baby's mother was talking with police Wednesday evening.

Police say the infant has siblings who are staying "somewhere safe."

Smith is charged with child abuse causing death. He will be arraigned on the charges Thursday morning in Kanawha County Magistrate Court.

Charleston police say Smith had previously faced two separate child neglect charges, one in Putnam County and one in Kanawha County, and both were dismissed. They say he'd also been convicted of domestic battery in Charleston in 2007.

No other information is being released at this time. Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest information.



UPDATE 5/21/14 @ 11 p.m.
KANAWHA CITY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A baby's death on Wednesday in Kanawha City is being investigated as a homicide, with charges expected against the father, Charleston Police say.

The father was identified late Wednesday as Jeremy Smith, according to Charleston Police.

Officers say Smith had injured himself and was found inside a car with the dead child, who was only a few weeks old.

The father was released from the hospital late Wednesday night and was in the custody of Charleston Police.

Officers say the Hurricane Police Department was faxing a warrant to Charleston Police, which was being served on Smith late Wednesday night. Smith is expected to be arraigned before a magistrate late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning.

Putnam County Prosecutor Mark Sorsaia told WSAZ.com that charges are expected against Smith in Putnam County, which has jurisdiction in the case.

The baby was found dead near the 3800 block of Venable Avenue in Kanawha City, leading police to close that roadway and some surrounding roads during the preliminary investigation.

Later Wednesday night, police were at a second crime scene related to the case -- this time at a home along Shank Avenue in Hurricane, West Virginia. That's in Putnam County.

West Virginia State Police and Hurricane Police remained at that second location late into the night, and crime scene tape was placed around the front entrance of the home.

Charleston police say Smith had previously faced two separate child neglect charges, one in Putnam County and one in Kanawha County, and both were dismissed. They say he'd also been convicted of domestic battery in Charleston in 2007.

The baby's death was reported about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

An autopsy will be completed on the infant to determine more about the cause of death.

The baby's mother was talking with police.

Police also said the infant has siblings who are staying "somewhere safe."

Keep clicking on WSAZ.com for the latest on this story.



ORIGINAL STORY 5/21/14 @ 5:16 p.m.
KANAWHA COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Charleston Police have closed Venable Avenue and surrounding streets as they investigate the death of an infant.

Metro 911 dispatchers tell WSAZ.com the call came in about 4 p.m. Wednesday.

Dispatchers say the baby was found dead near the 3800 block of Venable Avenue in Kanawha City.

No other immediate details were available Wednesday night.

WSAZ has a crew at the scene.

Keep clicking WSAZ.com for the latest information.


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