An Opelika man has been arrested and charged with murder after his two-month-old daughter died Tuesday, Opelika Police Chief Shane Healey announced at a press conference Friday morning.
Demarcus Treias Smith, 19, of Opelika, was arrested at 3:25 p.m. on Thursday for one count of murder following an investigation by police.
“The entire Opelika Police Department mourns the loss of [the victim], and our thoughts are with her mother and family as they deal with this excruciating loss,” Healey said. “These are the kinds of cases that take a piece of your soul.”
OPD officers responded to East Alabama Medical Center at 11:40 a.m. Tuesday in reference to a deceased child. Smith had brought his daughter who was unresponsive to EAMC, where medical staff performed life-saving measures but were unable to revive the child.
Officers immediately began investigating the circumstances surrounding the death, Healey said. The Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences performed an autopsy on the child, as directed by Alabama state law, which showed the child suffered head trauma which resulted in her death, according to Lee County Coroner Bill Harris.
OPD’s investigation determined that the child’s father was responsible for her care at the time the trauma was inflicted, making him a suspect in the case.
On Sept. 16, detectives executed a search warrant at the victim’s home to gain evidence for the investigation. There, officers found Smith and brought him in for questioning. Smith provided details corroborating evidence linking him with the death of the child.
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After consultation with the Lee County District Attorney’s Office, Smith was arrested at 3:25 p.m. on Sept. 16, for one count of murder.
Smith was transferred to the Lee County Detention Center, where he is currently being held. There are currently no other persons of interest in the case, Healey said.
“Keep everybody involved, their family in your prayers and everything,” Harris said.
Healey commended the officers and detectives that worked on the case.
“Gentlemen, thank all of you for your integrity and work ethic,” Healey said. “Each of you represent the greatness of the Opelika Police Department. These detectives will continue to work with the coroner’s office and the district attorney’s office to see that [the victim] receives the justice that she is due.”
The case remains under investigation. OPD asks that anyone with information about the case contact the detective division at 334-705-5220 or the secret witness hotline at 334-745-8665. Tips can also be submitted through the Opelika Police mobile app.
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