The death of a 4-week-old infant in St. Paul has been ruled a homicide by the Ramsey County Medical Examiner's Office, and the baby's father has been arrested and charged with murder.
Orancy Chea, 23, who resides in an apartment on the 1800 block of Stillwater Ave., has been charged in Ramsey County District Court with second-degree murder in the death of his child.
According to a criminal complaint, police were called to the apartment April 23 around 11 a.m. on a report of an unconscious infant with a 103-degree fever. The baby died less than an hour later after being transported to Children's Hospital.
Results of an autopsy revealed that the baby had died by homicide as a result of abusive head trauma resulting in a skull fracture and blunt force trauma to the chest and abdomen. The baby suffered a lacerated liver, lung contusion, broken ribs – new and healing – a skull fracture, a brain bleed, internal abdominal bleeding and bruises to the head.
Chea was arrested the next day. In an interview with detectives, Chea said he and the baby's mother called a hospital before April 22 because their baby was running a high fever. Medical personnel advised them to bring the baby in for an evaluation, but they decided to wait. He also said his child appeared to have a seizure the night of April 22.
The next morning, Chea said he found the baby not breathing in its crib.
When asked if he was responsible for the baby's injuries, Chea replied, "Not that I know of," the complaint said. Later, however, Chea nodded when asked if he had lost his temper. He began to cry and said, "Oh, my God."
The complaint states that Chea admitted he became angry because the baby was crying, so he threw the baby on its back, causing it to hit its head on a carpeted floor.
A neighbor also informed police that they could hear sounds of pounding and a baby crying inside Chea's apartment the night before officers were called to the residence. The charging document explains that "the neighbor heard 3-4 cycles of pounding that lasted a minute when the baby cried."
Bail has been set at $1 million and Chea faces up to 40 years in prison if convicted.