An Ohio man allegedly killed his girlfriend’s 1-year-old daughter by delivering a fatal blow to the baby’s head and then lied to authorities that she had fallen down the stairs, officials said.
Emergency responders were called to the Canton home of little Leah Tucke at Seventh Street NE at about 10:40 a.m. March 11 because the baby girl was having trouble breathing, CantonRep.com reported.
She was rushed to Akron Children's Medical Center the next day, but she could not be saved.
Timmy Mayle, 26, who was dating Leah’s mother, was watching the toddler on his own when he claimed “she crawled up some stairs and fell back down them,” police said.
But Little Leah died from "traumatic brain swelling" due to blunt force trauma, according to the Summit County Medical Examiner.
Investigators initially said that little Leah had “no external signs of abuse” at the time of her death.
Mayle was arrested Friday and charged with murder and endangering a child. He is also accused of abusing the baby girl, according to court records viewed by CantonRep.com.
A warrant was issued and Mayle, who was in jail for an unrelated alleged crime, was charged. He remains in custody on $2 million bond.
Mayle is scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on May 31, court records show.
Leah’s loved ones expressed relief after Mayle’s arrest that someone was being held responsible for the child’s death.
“This has been a nightmare of a wait!” relatives wrote on Facebook.
Before Mayle’s arrest, Leah’s family and friends gathered at a local park to send off blue balloons in honor of the little girl and to continue “seeking justice for her,” according to one post on a memorial page for the girl.
Her father also took to social media after his daughter’s death to mourn the little girl.
“You make (me) think of all the good times we had baby girl,” he wrote. “I love you Leah-Kaie Tucke. You are the only one who knows what happen(ed) baby. Watch over us babes I love you.”