Pennsylvania authorities arrested a Lower Providence Township man after his infant daughter died from sexual assault, officials said.
CBS Philly reports that 29-year-old Austin Stevens, an assistant youth football coach for Lower Providence Warriors, was arrested following a Saturday incident that left his daughter dead.
According to Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele, Stevens’ daughter, 10-month-old Zara Scruggs, was at his house on Saturday night when a 911 call was placed. At around 10:40 p.m., responding officers who arrived at the home found the baby unresponsive in a “blood saturated” diaper.
First responders rushed Zara to the Einstein Medical Center in Montgomery County, where she was pronounced dead. The bloody diaper was handed over to the authorities.
Patch reports that Stevens had a joint custody agreement with Zara’s mother and he had recently moved to his own home off of the 3400 block of Germantown Pike. Zara was at his home during his visitation time, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
After the baby’s death, investigators obtained a search warrant for Stevens’ phone, which allegedly had search queries that included:
- What if you don’t hear baby heart or beat
- My baby isn’t breathing
- How do you know if a baby is dead
- If baby stops breathing
On Sunday, Zara’s autopsy was released, which indicated she was not only sexually assaulted, but had blunt force trauma to her head.
Introducing Zara Lynn ❤️ Greatest gift by far 🎀
Posted by Erica R. Scruggs on Thursday, December 26, 2019
“This investigation into this horrific and deeply disturbing case is ongoing. It’s hard to imagine how this child’s death could be any more traumatic. Sexual assault of an infant is heinous, and then followed by the inaction of her father to save her life all led to this child’s death,” Steele said during a Tuesday afternoon news conference.
Stevens was subsequently arrested and charged with rape of a child, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, aggravated assault, and endangering the welfare of a child. He remains behind bars at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility on $1 million bail.
Check back for updates.
For the latest true crime and justice news, subscribe to the ‘Crime Stories with Nancy Grace’ podcast.
[Feature Photo: Zara Scruggs/GoFundMe]