Benjamin Taylor will face murder charges after the 9-month-old girl he is accused of raping died on Wednesday.
The West Virginia man had already been behind bars this week for an alleged attack on the baby that police called horrifying, and he will see his charges upgraded after the infant passed away on Wednesday afternoon. The 32-year-old had been booked on third-degree sexual assault charges and will now face murder charges as well, Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs told WV Metro News.
Reports of the baby girl’s death spread on Wednesday afternoon, crushing the slim hopes family members had been holding that she might recover. The family had said earlier in the day that she had been brain dead with little hope of waking up again.
It was not yet clear if Benjamin Taylor had been formally charged with murder, but Boggs said police were working as quickly as possible to upgrade the charges.
“The charges will be upgraded as soon as possible,” Boggs said. “I don’t know if that will be tonight yet or in the morning. But Mr. Taylor will be charged with felony murder sooner (rather) than later.”
The 9-month-old baby had initially been listed in critical condition after police were called to a home in Ripley, West Virginia, on Monday. Officers arrived to find the baby being held by her mother with a significant amount of blood around her, WSAZ reported.
The mother of the infant — who has not yet been named — said she found her daughter naked in her apartment’s basement with the lights turned out. Deputies initially interviewed Benjamin Taylor, the mother’s boyfriend, but he denied any knowledge of what happened to the infant.
While police have not detailed exactly what happened to the girl, law enforcement sources said it was the worst case of sexual assault they had seen in two decades, WCHS reported. It appears that police may have learned of the girl’s rape after she was rushed to the hospital.
“After speaking with Dr. Steve Eshenhaur at Jackson General Hospital, a detective learned that the child suffered trauma to her lower extremities, and bruising to her face and head,” WCHS reported on Monday, noting that at the time the child was listed in critical condition at Charleston Area Medical Center General Hospital in Charleston.
Once the police had read Taylor his Miranda rights, he told officers that he had taken the baby to the basement to do laundry but “blacked out” and didn’t know how the girl suffered her injuries, WSAZ reported. Police added that they found large amounts of blood around blankets and clothing in the basement where Taylor told them he had the infant.
Police added that Taylor’s story kept changing,and he appeared to be trying to rub something off himself. He was taken to a hospital where deputies collected a DNA sample, WSAZ noted. During the exam, police found blood on Taylor’s body that they believe belonged to the infant.
Boggs said that Benjamin Taylor knew of the baby’s grievous injuries following the sexual assault but did nothing to help or save the girl. He said he has no idea why the attack took place.
“If I could ever answer that, then I shouldn’t be around. I don’t know of any normal human that could fathom what would possess somebody to do that.”
The baby’s condition appeared to worsen after being taken to the hospital, and by Wednesday morning, it was reported that she was brain dead. She died sometime on Wednesday late morning or early afternoon.
The arrest of Benjamin Taylor had caused a stir on social media, with many people sharing details of the brutal crime and the allegations against the West Virginia man.
Benjamin Taylor was initially reported to be in jail on $2 million bond, but it is not yet clear if that has changed after the death of the infant he allegedly raped.
[Featured Image by Jackson County Sheriff Department]