Father accused of fatally punching baby daughter when she wouldn’t stop crying

ORANGE COUNTY, FL (WFTV) — A Florida father has been arrested and faces charges in the death of his 6-month-old baby, Orlando police said.

Dekari Rashard Castell, 22, was arrested Monday evening after his infant daughter was found unresponsive in an Orange County home, the same house where another accused killer, Markeith Loyd, hid from law enforcement for nine days.

Loyd alledgedly killed his pregnant ex-girlfriend Sade Dixon in December, and later gunned down Orlando police Lieutenant Debra Clayton, investigators said.

The baby’s mother called 911 on Sept. 13 to report her daughter was not breathing.

The baby was taken to Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital and test results showed she had “bilateral parietal skull fractures with associated subdural hemorrhages resulting in compression of the ventricular system,” according to the police report.

Castell denied ever hurting the child, but later admitted he dropped the baby girl on the back of the head after she squirmed out of his grasp on Sept. 11, investigators said.

Castell said he never told anyone what happened to the child and was at his mother’s home, where he was found, after his home lost power during Hurricane Irma.

When questioned a third time about what happened to the baby, Castell said she was standing on the television in the main bedroom before she fell onto the floor, investigators said. He changed his story a fourth time and said he was lying down while he threw the baby up in the air and she veered off and fell onto the baseboard three feet away, police said.

Castell later admitted he was stressed that he didn’t have power from the hurricane and the child wouldn’t stop crying, so he punched her twice in the head and she became quiet, investigators said.

Investigators also said Castell’s 4-week-old son was admitted to the hospital in September 2016 with a broken femur bone. Castell said his son squirmed out of his grasp, began to fall and that he grabbed his son’s leg, which caused the fracture.

Investigators suspected child abuse, but, charges were not filed due to lack of a probable cause, investigators said.

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