A Pennsylvania man accused of raping his 10-month-old daughter, who died after the horrific attack over the weekend, googled a series of disturbing questions such as, “How do you know if a baby is dead,” before calling 911, authorities said.
Austin Stevens, 29, spent almost an hour online searching for subjects related to the crime Saturday night in the Philadelphia suburb of Lower Providence Township, according to local officials. His searches reportedly included, “If baby stop breathing,” “What if you don’t hear baby heart or beat” and “My baby isn’t breathing.”
His infant daughter, Zara Scruggs, did not survive the sexual assault and was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after midnight Sunday, the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
In addition to phone records, police also recovered a diaper that was saturated with blood as part of their investigation. An autopsy later confirmed that the child had been brutally raped and sustained anal rectal trauma and blunt force trauma to the head, according to the release.
“This case is deeply disturbing,” District Attorney Kevin Steele said in a statement. “It is hard to imagine this child’s death being any more traumatic: sexual assault on an infant, followed by inaction by the father to save her life, led to her death.”
Stevens was charged with a slew of felonies, including involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, rape of a child, aggravated assault, aggravated indecent assault and endangering the welfare of a child. He’s being held on $1 million bail and is scheduled to appear in court next week.
Prosecutors said Stevens had sole custody of the child under an agreement with the victim’s mother. They also said the man was an assistant coach for a local football team, the Lower Providence Warriors.
The investigation is ongoing and additional charges are possible.