Father Admits Punching 5-Month-Old Daughter to Death During Hurricane Irma: Cops
The infant was, coincidentally, found in the same home where alleged cop killer and fugitive Markeith Loyd was found hiding earlier this year.
A Florida father has admitted to fatally punching his infant daughter while family members were taking shelter from the onslaught of Hurricane Irma, cops say.
The family was seeking shelter in an Orlando home on Sept. 13 when 5-month-old Kali Dream Castell's mother called 911 because her daughter wasn't breathing.
In an unrelated twist, the family was in the same home where alleged killer Markeith Loyd was captured by police earlier this year after a nine-day manhunt.
Paramedics arrived at the home following the mother's anguished phone call and attempted CPR before rushing little Kali to a hospital.
The baby was placed on life support, but a brain scan revealed bleeding in the brain and several skull fractures, according to hospital records obtained by WKMG.
Kali was pronounced dead the next day. Doctors later told police they'd discovered a depression in her skull that indicated she had been struck.
This finding appeared to discredit the version of events given by father Dekari Castell, who told authorities he dropped Kali after she wriggled out of his grasp days before.
Under further questioning, police said 22-year-old Castell's story changed.
During a third interview, investigators said Castell told them he punched his daughter's head while "highly stressed" because they were without power and Kali wouldn't stop crying.
Castell was arrested Monday and booked into the Orange County Jail on a charge of aggravated child abuse. On Tuesday evening, a first-degree murder charge was also filed against Castell, according to reports.
In his mugshot, Castell appears to have a tattoo above his left eye that says "Kali."
In a statement, the Florida's Department of Children and Families called Kali's death a "tragedy."
"We continue to mourn the loss of Kali and are supporting all those who loved her in any way we can. DCF’s investigation into this tragedy is ongoing and we’re coordinating with law enforcement to hold anyone responsible fully accountable. DCF had no prior interaction with Kali or her mother. It is sickening that anyone would allegedly hurt an innocent child," the department said.
A judge has denied Castell bond on the murder charge. He remained held Wednesday in the Orange County Jail.
Loyd is currently jailed on murder charges stemming from the death of his former girlfriend Sade Dixon and her unborn child, as well as the death of Orlando Lt. Debra Clayton, who was shot after confronting him outside an Orlando Walmart while he was on the lam.
Loyd has pleaded not guilty.
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