Utah dad Jake Jensen killed his girlfriend’s disabled daughter then married the grieving mom a year later and had another baby with her, police say.
Jake Jensen told Salt Lake City police officers that little Sophia had a seizure and died last January. The toddler suffered from cerebral palsy. The 29-year-old Utah dad has now been charged with beating his girlfriend’s daughter to death.
Salt Lake City police investigators became suspicious of Jensen after he gave conflicting accounts about how the disabled little girl died. Initially, Jensen reportedly said Sophia was in her crib already having the seizure when he walked in.
But, during further questioning, the Utah man reportedly said the toddler “went stiff” when he was giving her a bottle. Jensen was alone watching Sophia; his girlfriend, Stephanie Mahaffey, 23, was at work when the child died.
Jake and Stephanie Jensen celebrated the birth of their daughter in June. The couple got married in March. The couple had been dating for about four months before Sophia died, according to their social media accounts.
Stephanie called 911 for help during the early morning hours of January 2, 2016, because she was concerned Sophia was having a seizure. When first responders arrived, Sophia’s vital signs reportedly appeared to be normal, and the squad left the home. The worried mother opted against taking her daughter to a hospital, but she reportedly told the first responders she would follow up with her daughter’s physician, the Deseret News reports.
Two days later, the Utah mom allowed her boyfriend to watch the little girl again while she went to work. She later said she had a “feeling” she should come home from work early, and she did so to check on her daughter.
Upon her arrival, she saw Sophia was in the midst of yet another seizure, according to the Salt Lake City police investigators. She rushed her daughter to the hospital, but the toddler never regained consciousness. Sophia was removed from life support two days later.
Shortly after Sophia’s death, Stephanie posted links to a GoFundMe page on Facebook to raise money for her daughter’s funeral expenses. Several weeks later, she published a post indicating her insurance did not pay for all of Sophia’s medical expenses and asked for help covering the cost of her deceased daughter’s medical care.
Before the couple got married in March, Stephanie shared her wedding registry on social media and asked for common household items from Bed Bath & Beyond as well as cash gifts to help the couple with expenses during their honeymoon trip to Bora Bora. She reportedly shared links to a $125 snorkeling attraction and asked their wedding guests to gift them cash for shopping purposes during their honeymoon.
Yesterday, merely a day after the new baby was christened, Salt Lake City prosecutors levied child abuse homicide and child abuse charges against Jake Jensen. The baby reportedly wore a dress made for Sophia to her christening. Jensen was arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on a $500,000 bond.
The child abuse homicide charges filed against Jake Jensen were prompted by the final autopsy report into Sophia’s death, which revealed some shocking details pertaining to her death, the Daily Mail reports.
The Utah coroner determined Sophia had not died due to a seizure provoked by cerebral palsy, but due to massive injuries sustained during a beating. The little girl suffered from two broken legs and “very severe” head and facial trauma.
Sophia also suffered a severe injury to her brain. The medical examiner decided there was no way the toddler could have sustained such injuries unless she had been beaten.
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