Dad ‘flirted with women online after raping daughter and leaving her to die’
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A dad who allegedly raped and killed his baby daughter chatted with two women on Instagram as she lay dying, foreign media reports.
Austin Stevens, 29, was arrested and charged in relation to Zara Scruggs’ death in Lower Providence Township, Pennsylvania, the US, last week.
Officers rushed to the property around 10.40pm on October 3 and found Zara unresponsive in a diaper “saturated with blood”.
She was taken to the Einstein Medical Centre in Montgomery County, where she was pronounced dead.
After allegedly killing her, Stevens googled ”how to tell if a baby is dead."
He also started talking with two women on Instagram, The Phoenix reports.
Detectives said: “Stevens physically assaulted Scruggs causing blunt force head trauma. Additionally, Stevens sexually assaulted Scruggs.
“These actions were a continuing course of conduct that created a substantial risk of death and Stevens failed to provide a duty of care when the child was in need of emergency care.”
Stevens had a joint custody agreement with Zara’s mum and had just moved into a new house, Patch reports.
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Over the weekend, at least 500 people lined the street in front of the house where Zara lived for her funeral, CBS Philly reports.
Mum Erica Scruggs said: “I just love you all because you all love my baby, and I appreciate everybody.”
Paying tribute last week, Zara’s distraught grandfather Eric said: “This is shocking.
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“He always respected me, and he always respected us. You would never think that anything like this would even happen in a million years.”
Her grandmother added: “If you had a bad day, she made your day good, she’d just learned to walk.”
Stevens is being held in jail on a $1 million (£774k) bail, and a preliminary hearing has been set for today, October 13.
He has been charged with aggravated sexual assault, rape of a child, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child and other criminal counts.
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