LOWER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP, Pa. – A Pennsylvania man was arrested for the rape of his 10-month-old daughter after she was found unresponsive in his home on Saturday.
Austin Stevens, 29, of Lower Providence Township, called 911 at around 10:40 p.m. on Saturday, October 3, 2020, to report that his toddler was unresponsive in his home in the 3400 block of Germantown Pike. When they arrived they found Zara Scruggs unresponsive. Police began CPR on the baby girl and she was rushed to Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, where despite life-saving efforts she was pronounced deceased at 12:12 a.m.
Police began an investigation into the death of the baby girl. A search warrant for Stevens’ phone was obtained. Through investigation it was found that Stevens made several Google searches an hour before calling 911. The Google searches included “If baby stops breathing,” “What if you don’t hear baby heart or beat,” “My baby isn’t breathing,” and “How do you know if a baby is dead.” During that time he also used social media and sent text messages to two women, which were not related to his baby in any way.
Zara’s diaper was found to be saturated with blood and after a Sunday, October 4, 2020, autopsy it was learned that the baby was sexually assaulted. The baby girl had sustained anal rectal trauma and blunt force trauma to her head. This case is deeply disturbing. 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,” said Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele.
The cause and manner of death is pending at this time. Stevens has been charged with Involuntary Deviant Sexual Intercourse, Rape of a Child, Aggravated Assault, Aggravated Indecent Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and related charges. He was arraigned by Magisterial District Judge Cathleen Kelly Rebar, who set bail at $1 million. The defendant was unable to make bail and was remanded to the Montgomery County Correctional Facility. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 3 p.m., Oct. 13, 2020, before Judge Rebar.
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