Mom Arrested In Death Of 4-Week-Old Daughter; Death Declared Homicide

By Scott Sarvay
By Nicole Hahn
By Megan Trent

December 13, 2010 Updated Dec 13, 2010 at 6:51 PM EDT

Fort Wayne, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Police have confirmed that LaDawn Johnson's three other children, ages five and younger, are in protective custody and safe tonight.

Prosecutors have until Wednesday to alter Johnson's current charges of battery and neglect of a dependent.

Last Friday the death of Johnson's four week old baby girl was ruled a homicide caused by a skull fracture. There were also burns to the infant's body.


Fort Wayne, Indiana (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – 25-year-old LaDawn Depree Johnson is arrested on charges of battery and two counts of neglect of a dependent in the death of her 4-week-old daughter.

The Allen County Coroner has now ruled the death of the baby girl a homicide, with the cause of death ruled as a fracture of the skull with subdural and suparachnoid hemorrhage. Sources also say the infant suffered burns to her body.

Bond is set at $60,000 and the case has been sent to the Allen County Prosecutor's office.

Officials with the prosecutor's office will decide now on filing formal charges and what those charges will be.

Police were called to a home daycare at 5717 Fairfield Avenue just after 8:30 Thursday morning on reports that a mother had driven her dead 4-week-old baby girl to the house from their apartment on Serenity Drive.

Police say Johnson was trying to seek help from a friend at the daycare.

The infant was declared dead at the scene.

Raquel Foster with the Fort Wayne Police Department says anytime an infant is involved in a case like this a team of investigators work together to gather all of the information possible. "We also interview witnesses. We interview family members. So, you take that information, you take any evidence at the scene, and then you take the findings that were revealed through the autopsy, and you hope that is going to tell the story of how that child suffered those injuries, because that child can't tell you."

Police say Johnson has three other children. The oldest of those children is just five years old. Details on where those children are now were unavailable Friday afternoon.

If you are a distressed parent and need to give up an unwanted infant safely, legally and confidentially please follow the Safe Haven guidelines for your state.

The Indiana Safe Haven Infant Protection Act:
-Allows a distressed parent to give up an unwanted infant safely, legally and confidentially.
-Preserves the parent from arrest or prosecution for abandonment.
-Requires no names or records.
-Permits babies less than 45 days old to be given up at any hospital emergency room, fire station or police station in Indiana.
-Makes medical treatment and social services available to the birth mother.
-Puts the child into the custody of the Indiana Division of Family & Social Services Administration, which places the infant in a foster or pre-adoptive home.

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