This story is probably one of the hardest we've ever had to report. A 10-month-old baby girl has died, allegedly at the hands of her own father.
Montgomery County, Pennsylvania authorities say that 29-year-old Austin Stevens has been charged with rape of a child, aggravated assault and other related charges in the death of Zara Lynn Scruggs.
According to Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, baby Zara was at her father's home on Saturday evening when a 911 call was made for an unresponsive infant. Emergency responders arrived at the scene just before 11pm. 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, after the assault, from around 9:27 p.m. to 10:22 p.m., 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."
On Sunday, Zara’s autopsy was released, which indicated she was not only sexually assaulted, but had blunt force trauma to her head.
Steele says that there was a previously agreed upon custody arrangement between the child's mother, Erica Scruggs, and Stevens. Stevens, who is an assistant youth football coach for Lower Providence Warriors, was arrested and is being held at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $1 million bail.
This man has got to be sick. During the time he was using the internet to search about dead babies, Stevens also had two "chat" exchanges with women. Both conversations were on subjects not pertaining to his daughter. After an hour of surfing the internet, he finally called 911.
This child didn't deserve this kind of death but, her certainly deserves to sit behind bars for the rest of his days. Zara's mother made a social media post saying "I'm not okay. . . I have no words". If you can, say a prayer for her family. She definitely needs it.