Baby dies 18 months after injuries, major crime declared

MAJOR Crimes detectives faced a tragic waiting game as the health of a baby faded at the Women's and Children's Hospital and they could launch a homicide investigation.

The little girl was only 41 days old when she received a serious head injury that left her brain damaged as well as fractured limbs.

She passed away on Sunday, more than a year after she received a critical brain injury.

She was born on April 25, 2016, and had barely started her life when she was critically injured at a Whyalla Stuart home.

Paramedics were called to the house on June 5, 2016, and found the little girl badly injured and unresponsive.

Her parents, a 27-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman, were arrested at the scene.

The man was charged with aggravated assault causing serious harm and criminal neglect.

The woman was also charged with criminal neglect.

Charges against both people were later dropped by the DPP though Inspector Greg Hutchins, from the Major Crime Investigation branch said the couple remain the focus of Major Crime investigations.

Other children in the couple's care were removed by Families SA.

Inspector Hutchins said the death of the little girl has been declared a Major Crime and consideration was being given to appropriate charges.

"This is truly a tragic case, she was is one of our most vulnerable citizens at the time that police responded to the Whyalla Stuart address she was only 41 days old," Insp Hutchins said.

"She deserved better - very tragically we had been waiting for her to pass away.

"She was obviously a little fighter and she fought on for a long time but then she passed away on Sunday.

"Terribly distressing, she hadn't even started her life, how much more precious can you be?"

"This is a tragic case," he said. "This little girl required 24-7 nursing care her entire life and today I'm appealing for anyone with information that could assist to come forward.

"To anyone who may have not told the truth in the past, anyone who might have thought that things were going to go away or get better, or anyone who just thought it was not their place to step up, I say 'now is the time'.

"Relationships may have been fractured within the family or among wider friends and today I urge those people to reflect on what has occurred and seek their co-operation.

"This little girl deserved better, and now deserves the truth.

"Police - particularly those in the Whyalla CIB - have already put countless hours into this investigation, and will continue to work on this case until there is some sense of justice for her."

Insp Hutchins said the couple remained the focus of the investigation and continued to live in rural areas.

"You can see from the charges against male that he was the focus of the investigation because the charges against him were more serious than the female," Insp Hutchins said.

"They are aware that she has passed away, they are aware of the investigation and they are aware that this will not go away.

"But we still need the right amount of evidence to charge people."



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