A West Virginia man has been charged with first-degree murder in the violent, sexual assault killing of his girlfriend’s 9-month-old baby, authorities said.
Benjamin Taylor, 32, was arrested Tuesday after the child’s mother discovered him and her baby lying on the basement floor at about 5 a.m., investigators said.
The child was unresponsive and covered in blood. She was taken to a nearby hospital, where doctors pronounced her brain dead. Her family removed her from life support on Wednesday and she died later that day.
At a brief court hearing Wednesday, a magistrate read a long list of injuries sustained by the baby, whose body was bruised, bloodied, shaken and strangled, he said.
Taylor sat emotionless and did not enter a plea. He is being held on $2 million bail.
The family of Emmaleigh Barringer released a statement after her death, thanking Jackson County police for their investigative work.
“Finally, we would like to assure anyone with any doubt, that this crime against an innocent child was solely perpetrated by a monster who had disguised himself as a caring and supporting friend.
“Emmaleigh’s mother and surviving siblings were victims in this and are guilty only of placing trust in the hands of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing,” the statement said.
The mother told police she had found Taylor and her baby in the basement with the lights off.
He initially told detectives he had “blacked out,” after taking the child downstairs with him to do laundry Monday night after everyone else in the apartment had gone to sleep, authorities said.
He later said he did not know how the baby became injured, investigators said.
According to a criminal complaint, Taylor sexually assaulted the baby and caused life-threatening injuries during the attack, WOWK-TV reported.
He also made no effort to save the child’s life after the assault, the complaint said.