Arkansas Man May Have Killed Infant Daughter In Violent Sleepwalking Episode, Says Child’s Mother

An Arkansas father responsible for the death of his 4-week-old daughter may have been sleepwalking when the baby’s fatal injury occurred, according to the man’s wife.

Charles Dugan was arrested last week “for unrelated charges stemming from an alleged battery at a local hospital,” according to local CBS affiliate 5News. However, once he had been booked, an additional charge for second degree murder was added to the jail log in connection to the baby’s death.

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The infant died in August, in an event which was initially described as cardiac arrest by a police report obtained by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The child’s mother told law enforcement that she had left Dugan with the baby around 5 p.m. to go to work, as she usually did. At the time, the 26-year-old explained that he had “put the infant in her crib while swaddled in a blanket and propped a bottle in her mouth by using another blanket,” per the Democrat-Gazette. When he returned 10 minutes later, the baby was “choking” on the milk. He told police that he had tried to call 911 and failed to connect, so he took the baby to the apartment of a neighbor who called 911 and attempted CPR. Emergency services transported the baby to Arkansas Children’s Hospital Northwest, where she was pronounced dead.

In early December, the Arkansas State Crime Lab released the results of the autopsy, which “identified head injuries caused by blunt force trauma, with some recent and some healing rib fractures,” according to the Democrat-Gazette. The child’s death was then ruled a homicide.

Brought in for questioning again, Dugan reportedly changed his story, telling police that 30-45 minutes before he found the baby in her crib unresponsive, he had fallen asleep with the baby on his chest. While he was asleep, he “believed she had dropped to the floor.” Per 5News:

“Dugan was unsure if the infant had struck the coffee table near the sofa or landed directly on the floor but said he woke up to the infant screaming on the floor.”

Dugan had not previously mentioned the fall to any of the emergency responders on the day or in his initial police interview; Sgt. Anthony Murphy with the Fayetteville Police Department claimed Dugan gave “a litany of self-serving excuses, putting his own interests above the health of the child,” 5News reported.

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However, the baby’s mother revealed in a later interview that Dugan was a sleepwalker and once tried to “body slam” her during an episode. She suggested that he may have been sleepwalking leading up to the baby’s injuries. After being arrested for battery on Thursday, Dugan further contradicted his earlier statements and said he “did not remember what had happened the night the infant died,” 5News reported.

This is a truly terrible tragedy. We hope the truth comes out, but it seems that Dugan is responsible for his daughter’s death, regardless of how it actually happened. Hopefully justice is served appropriately in this case.

[Image via Washington County Detention]

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Written by Mohamed Bourbiza

Bourbiza Mohamed : A technology enthusiast and a passionate writer in the field of information technology, cyber security, and blockchain

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