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Teen kicked, stomped on 2-year-old Minneapolis girl before she died, charges say

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A 17-year-old is charged with second-degree murder in the death of a 2-year-old girl in Minneapolis last week, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office announced Monday.

The juvenile was taken into custody last Wednesday after officers responded to a call of a baby, Sophia O'Neill, not breathing. The toddler was in the care of the teenager, police said.

The juvenile arrested is reportedly the boyfriend of O'Neill's 20-year-old mother.

The toddler was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center in an ambulance, but died later that night, police said.

Her injuries were outlined in the probable cause statement, described below. (Editor's note: Some of the details could be considered disturbing.)

The teenager told police he "snapped on her" when Sophia wouldn't stop crying. He put her in a corner and kicked her in the back. When she still wouldn't stop crying he said he laid her face down on the floor and stomped on her back.

When asked how hard he kicked Sophia, on a scale of one to 10, he said: "It was bad. It was like a seven. It was hard."

Investigators believe this happened Tuesday, the day before Sophia died.

Sophia suffered "significant non-accidental trauma," with the medical examiner determining she died of multiple blunt-fore injuries to her torso region – her left kidney was split in half, her pancreas was split in two, her liver was injured, she had eight broken ribs, a collapsed lung and bruising on her scalp, among other injuries.

During the investigation, the child's biological father, 22-year-old Max O'Neill, showed police video of Sophia with bruises on her face. In the video, Sophia says the suspect "punched" her in the face.

The teenager has been held in jail since being arrested. He made his initial court appearance at the Hennepin County Juvenile Justice Center Monday afternoon. The judge closed the hearing to the media, which is an unusual move, the Star Tribune says.

Anyone who commits a crime when they are between the ages of 10 and 17 is considered a juvenile offender. Most juvenile cases remain in juvenile court, with a few exceptions for especially violent crimes, the Hennepin County Attorney's Office website notes. For more on the juvenile justice system, click here.

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