Wife Says Husband Might Have Killed Their Baby While Sleepwalking, Once Tried to ‘Body Slam’ Her

The 26-year-old Arkansas man's story changed dramatically after an autopsy discovered evidence of blunt force trauma and rib fractures.

A man in Arkansas is facing new charges of second-degree murder in connection with the death of his infant daughter on August 29.

26-year-old Charles Dugan of Fayetteville gave police varying stories as to what might have happened to his four-week-old daughter through the course of their investigation, according to a police report obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, seemingly changing his version of events with each new detail or piece of evidence.

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Initially, he’d told them that he’d propped a bottle in the baby’s mouth in her crib just long enough to use the bathroom. When he returned, he said he found the baby “choking” on milk. He further said that he was unable to connect to 911 at his house, which is why it was a neighbor that called it in.

Life-saving measures were attempted when authorities arrived at the scene before the baby was transported to Arkansas Children’s Hospital Northwest. It was there that she was pronounced dead.

After an autopsy revealed the infant had head injuries as a result of blunt force trauma, as well as both recent and healing rib fractures, the man’s story changed.

In his new version of events, the baby was lying on the man’s chest when he fell asleep. She then presumably fell off of his chest, hitting her head on the coffee table or floor. He said he was awakened to his daughter “screaming on the floor.”

The man said it was about 30-45 minutes after that fall that he had put his daughter in her crib and subsequently found her unresponsive there. This drastically different version of events did not address the rib fractures, recent or healing.

With the investigation continuing into what happened, Charles’ wife offered up a new possibility in an interview on December 9. She told police that he often suffered from sleepwalking and had even once tried to “body slam” her during such an episode.

According to authorities, Charles couldn’t say if he’d been sleepwalking when his daughter suffered her injuries. In fact, after he was picked up for an unrelated battery charge, he told police he couldn’t remember at all what had happened to his baby in August.

Subsequently, he was slapped with a second-degree murder charge in relation to the August death of his baby and is currently being held without bond.

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