West Virginia police are calling the brutal beating and rape of nine-month-old baby girl by her mother’s boyfriend the worst case of sexual assault they have seen in two decades. On Wednesday the baby died of her injuries, and her alleged assailant Benjamin Taylor will be facing murder charges.
Thirty-two-year-old Benjamin (Benji) Ryan Taylor, of Cottageville, West Virginia, has been arrested and charged for the sexual assault and death of his girlfriend’s nine-month-old daughter, Emmaleigh Barringer. The man was arrested on Monday on first-degree sexual assault charges after the baby was found unresponsive and in a pool of her own blood. The child was rushed to the hospital but never regained consciousness, and on Wednesday she passed away, which led to murder charges now being added to the criminal complaint against Taylor.
Reports indicated that Emmaleigh’s mother, Amanda Adkins, awoke somewhere between 4:30 a.m. and 5 a.m. on Monday and found her daughter naked and bloody on the basement floor of her home in Ripley, West Virginia. According to WSAZ the baby girl had been left bloody and swollen after she had been physically and sexually assaulted. Amanda Adkins called 911 immediately. It seems that the baby had been left to die, as when deputies arrived to the home, Adkins said that she had found Emmaleigh alone in the basement, in a pool of blood with the lights turned off.
Benjamin Taylor initially denied knowing anything about the injuries on the nine-month-old, but when police arrested him on suspicion of wrongdoing, he admitted he had been doing laundry with the girl earlier in the day. Deputies said that Taylor had changed his story multiple times, and during evidence collection, the police noticed him trying to wipe something off his groin area. It turned out to be Emmaleigh’s blood that was on Taylor, but when he was arrested he claimed to have been doing laundry with the baby earlier in the day, saying he had blacked out and didn’t know how the child had gotten injured.
Large amounts of blood were found on several blankets and other clothes that had been in the basement with Taylor and the infant. The report for the criminal complaint against Benjamin Taylor indicates that, after he physically and sexually assaulted Emmaleigh Barringer, he did nothing to save the infant’s life from the injuries he had inflicted. The baby had reportedly been violently shaken, leaving her with bruises to her face and head trauma, while the sexual assault caused trauma to her lower extremities.
WCHS wrote that Taylor is being held in South Central Regional Jail with a bond set at $2 million.
Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs said that, though the investigation into the sexual assault and death of Emmaleigh Barringer is still ongoing, the police do not suspect the mother of any wrongdoing. They also do not think that any of the little girl’s three siblings had been harmed by Taylor.
Doctors had pronounced Emmaleigh as clinically brain-dead on Tuesday night, ensuring that the family knew that there was no hope that she would ever wake. Family members gathered at Charleston Area Medical Center on Wednesday to support Amanda Adkins as she signed the papers to take her daughter off life support.
Amanda met Benjamin when she and her four children had just moved to West Virginia from Maryland. Adkins’ cousin Danielle said that he had been a regular Prince Charming to the woman and her children, but now she yearns for Taylor to suffer.
“The only way justice is going to be served is if he feels every ounce of pain that he caused her too.”
A Facebook group called Justice For Emmaleigh has been created along with the social media hashtag #JusticeForEmmaleigh, and the family has also set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the medical and funeral expenses.
[Featured Image from GoFundMe and Jackson County Sheriff Department]