PROVO, Utah, March 22, 2018 (Gephardt Daily) — A suspect was booked into the Utah County Jail Wednesday on suspicion of child abuse homicide after the death of a 4-month-old girl in Provo.
Provo police were dispatched at 7:30 p.m. Monday on a report of a child not breathing. They responded to a residence in the 2000 block of Nevada Avenue. After phoning the caller and getting him to open the door, police found the victim, Nevaeh King, alone in the care of her mother’s boyfriend, 23-year-old Cameron Willingham.
The infant was not conscious or breathing, and was taken to Utah Valley Regional Medical Center, where an initial evaluation showed trauma and bleeding on the brain.
Nevaeh was flown to Primary Children’s Hospital and put on life support. She died about 36 hours later, on Wedneseday.
An autopsy found severe head and spinal trauma, including blunt trauma to the left, right, top and back of the head. Also found were swelling to the brain, damage to the optic nerves, broken ribs, and hemorrhages in the abdominal and rib region. Severe dehydration and malnutrition also were detected.
Willingham told investigators that he had given the baby a bottle in an effort to stop her from “freaking out.” The bottle he produced contained dried up formula and mold, according to a police report.
Willingham was booked into jail Wednesday. The police report notes previous convictions for crimes including unlawful sexual activity with a minor, assault of a pregnant woman, failure to stop at the command of police, drug charges and retail theft.
“We are shocked by the death of a defenseless person, but we want to assure the community that we are carefully investigating this case,” said a post from the Provo Police Department. It also noted “that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.”