An Arkansas man is behind bars after a three-year-old girl died from injuries she sustained after being beaten.
According to WREG, the girl’s mother received a call Friday morning from her live-in boyfriend urging her to come home. When she arrived, the girl was unresponsive. The child was rushed to the hospital, where she died several hours later.
Deputies charged the boyfriend, identified as Deonte Miller, with first-degree battery initially, but now plan to charge him with capital murder.
“He was actually holding her when I got there,” Cpl. Jeff Goff with the St. Francis County Sheriff’s Office told WREG. “She was bruised from the waist up.”
Investigators believe the girl was also raped after they found blood on the scene to support their suspicions and that Miller tried to strangle her.
“Looks like she had a cord tied around her neck,” Sheriff Bobby May said. “Possibly, he tried to choke her.”
The girl’s mother and their neighbors told WREG that they don’t believe Miller was responsible for the girl’s injuries.
“I don’t think he would do anything like that,” the girl’s mother said. She said she has known Miller since November.
“He was very friendly with the children,” neighbor John Love said. “I didn’t’ see anything in his personality that would say he would to anything to any of the children.”
However, investigators say Miller gave five different accounts of how the girl became injured.
“One is she was out, they were out riding the bicycles and fell,” Sheriff May said. “Another was she was jumping up and down on the bed and fell.”
The sheriff’s office said Miller may also be charged with rape eventually, pending the results of a rape kit.