LOWER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP, Pa. (CBS) — Montgomery County officials say a 10-month-old girl died after being raped by her 29-year-old father in Lower Providence Township. Austin Stevens, an assistant youth football coach for Lower Providence Warriors, has been charged with rape of a child, aggravated assault and other related charges in the death of Zara Scruggs.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele says Zara was at her father’s house on Saturday evening where she was found unresponsive around 10:40 p.m., following a 911 call.
She was transported to Einstein Medical Center in Montgomery County and pronounced dead shortly after midnight.
Steele says the personnel who transported Zara to the hospital gave authorities a blood-saturated diaper that the child had been wearing.
According to detectives, Stevens conducted several Google searches on his phone of “how do you know if a baby is dead,” “if baby stops breathing,” “what if you don’t hear baby heart or beat,” and “my baby isn’t breathing.”
An autopsy revealed Zara was the victim of a sexual assault and also sustained blunt force trauma to her head. Steele says they are waiting for additional forensic results to determine the child’s cause of death as Stevens could face more charges.
“This case is deeply disturbing. It is hard to imagine this child’s death being any more traumatic: sexual assault on an infant, followed by inaction by the father to save her life, led to her death,” Steele said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
Steele added there was a custody arrangement between Stevens and the girl’s mother.
Stevens is being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $1 million bail.
Authorities urge anyone else who knows about alleged abuse from Stevens to give them a call.