Father rapes ten-month-old daughter, then ‘googles’ what to do with her body
According to prosecutors, Stevens waited an hour after browsing Google to call 911 and get help for his dying daughter.
Austin Stevens, a 29-year-old youth football coach and resident of Providence Township, was charged with aggravated sexual assault rape of a child, involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and other criminal counts on Tuesday. The man allegedly raped his ten-month-old daughter, Zara Scruggs, who later succumbed to her injuries and died in a hospital bed.
The Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office issued a press release stating the timeline of events:
At around 10.40 PM on Saturday, Lower Providence police responded to a report of an unresponsive infant at 3400 block of Germantown Road. Officers immediately began CPR on Zara and transported her to Einstein Medical Center Montgomery, where she was pronounced dead less than two hours later. Police obtained a search warrant to download the contents of Stevens’ phone.
The search revealed that the 29-year-old father had conducted several disturbing Google searches which included:
- If the baby stops breathing
- What if you don’t hear baby heart or beat
- My baby isn’t breathing
- How do you know if a baby [sic] is dead
According to prosecutors, Stevens waited an hour after browsing Google to call 911 and get help for his dying daughter. He also exchanged messages on social media with two women, failing to mention his daughter’s condition.
The press release from the DA’s office further stated:
A search of Stevens’ upstairs apartment turned up a diaper Zara was wearing during the alleged rape. The diaper was saturated with blood. An autopsy determined that the baby girl, who had just learned how to walk, sustained anal rectal trauma and blunt force trauma to the head.
Regarding the case, Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said:
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. It is heinous.
Stevens is currently being held at the county jail on $1million bail, pending a preliminary hearing set for the 13th of October.
A media outlet reported that Stevens had joint custody of Zara with Erica Scruggs, Zara’s mother. The baby’s maternal grandparents were the last people to see young Zara alive when they put her in her father’s car so he could take her for an overnight visit.
On Tuesday, Erica Scruggs took to Facebook and wrote:
I am not okay. I really have no words … He will pay.
To help the grieving mother, Zara’s relative launched a GoFundMe page. So far, the fundraiser has drawn more than $ 28,000 in donations. The description of the campaign states:
She sparked so much joy. She was smart. She was silly. She was sassy. She was perfect. She was a beautiful baby and brought so much beauty into hundreds of lives.
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