A Michigan man has been accused of sexually assaulting and killing his former girlfriend's 14-month-old baby daughter.
The man, identified as 27-year-old Jacob Britton Emmendorfer, was arrested on Friday, Dec. 18, over the death of Meilani Marie Hart. The child was killed in aMilham Meadows Apartment in Portage, Michigan, in a disturbing incident that took place on Aug. 12.
Hart was found in an unresponsive condition by first responders at the scene of the crime at around 10 pm and was rushed to a nearby hospital, where the baby was later pronounced dead. According to authorities, Emmendorfer was a former boyfriend of the victim's mother.
Emmendorger Charged with Homicide, Abuse and Sexual Assault
Emmendorfer has now been charged with three felonies including homicide, child abuse and first-degree criminal sexual assault. He is currently being held without bond at the Kalamazoo County Jail.
Kalamazoo County Prosecutor Jeff Getting told MLive, "It's important, however, to realize that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt and we're just at the beginning of a long process in the criminal justice system."
"This is, was, a very difficult incident to have to respond to and investigate," Portage Public Safety Chief Nicholas Armold told the news outlet. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the family of this innocent child. All around, this is just a sad incident."
Second Child Killed at the Apartment Complex This Year
The child's death is not the first time a toddler has died due to abuse suffered at the hands of the parent's partner at the Milham Meadows apartment complex this year. In March, two-year-old Royalty Houston-Hooper was killed by a woman dating the child's father.
Tranaya Spencer, 22, pleaded guilty on Thursday, Dec. 10 to one count of manslaughter and one count of third-degree child abuse in the case.
Spencer admitted to banging the child's head against the wall and shaking her while she was unconscious. When officers arrived at the scene of the crime, they found two-year-old Royalty in an upstairs bathroom not breathing while Spencer was attempting CPR on the child. The child died four days later due to complications from her injuries. Spencer is scheduled to be sentenced on Jan. 4 in Kalamazoo County Circuit Court.