Infant girl's death ruled homicide
BATON ROUGE - The East Baton Rouge Coroner's Office confirmed Monday that a three-month-old infant girl's death by blunt force trauma to the head and neck is a homicide.
The child's father, 28-year-old John William Hope, was arrested Thursday night on cruelty charges.
John and the girl's mother, Christine Hope, were taken into police custody for questioning ahead of his arrest. During the interview, the father told investigators he had left the baby on a changing table Wednesday morning when he went to get the baby's bottle. He told detectives he heard a crash while out of the room and returned to find Josephine on the floor.
When the couple arrived at the hospital with the infant, they told medical staff the same story. Medical staff also discovered on the knot on the baby's head that the father said happened earlier when the three-month-old headbutted him. He could explain marks on the baby's neck that were also observed by doctors and nurses at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center.
Staff at OLOL contacted authorities later Wednesday morning to report the father while the infant remained in intensive care with life-threatening injuries including three skull fractures and several rib fractures along with bruising on the face and neck and other signs of blunt force trauma.
The infant's condition was listed as critical with no brain activity Friday, but OLOL declined to provide further updates on Josephine's condition. She died Saturday.
The state Department of Children and Family Service is continuing their investigation into the family. Jail records do not indicate that the infant's mother has been arrested.
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