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Father Of Infant Found Dead Arrested, Charged With Child Abuse Resulting In Death

Reported: May. 21, 2014 4:12 PM EDT
Updated: May. 21, 2014 11:21 PM EDT

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HURRICANE, W.Va. (Heath Harrison, Kallie Cart) -- The father of an infant found dead in Charleston was arrested Wednesday night.

Robert Jeremy Smith, 33, has been charged with child abuse resulting in death. The arrest was made by Hurricane police, where a separate scene was being investigated.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown, Stefano DiPietrantonio) -- A baby was found dead in Charleston on Wednesday, and the investigation has spanned two counties.

The infant, named Madden, was found dead in a car seat in Kanawha City. The father, Robert Jeremy Smith, 33, called 911 to report that the baby hit his head sometime during the night and was now dead.

Dispatchers said Smith then slit his own throat, but survived.

The investigation spanned two counties – Kanawha, where police found the baby and the father, and Putnam, where police put up crime scene tape around a home on Shank Avenue in Hurricane.

Chief Mike Mullins, with the Hurricane Police Department, said the department and State Police had not even been inside the house, yet they were still getting warrants.

They were told it was a potential crime scene.

The boy’s grandmother is a traveling nurse, who came home to West Virginia from Maryland to see her own mother in the ICU, only to learn her home was a crime scene

She did not want her name used on camera but said her son, Smith, has suffered some kind of damage to one of his arms and, lately, has difficulty holding onto or gripping things.

She could only speculate, but feared he may have dropped the baby by accident, and then may have freaked out or panicked and didn't know what to do.

She and Smith's brother, Barry, wanted him to know they were there for him and were behind him 100 percent.

Smith's family also said he has been separated from his wife for about a month, and that has been incredibly stressful.

Madden also has a twin sister, Madeline, who is in the neo-natal intensive care unit at Women and Children's Hospital in Charleston, fighting for her life. She was born with her intestines outside of her body, and had to have major surgery.

Barry Smith said that Jeremy Smith was treated for his non-life-threatening injuries, and was being questioned by the Charleston Police Department.

Charleston police are still investigating the baby's death.

Neighbors in Charleston were shocked that something like this could happen in their neighborhood.

It had been a very active and hectic crime scene in Kanawha City, and, for the community, it was a heartbreaking turn of events.

Police got to the home on Venable Avenue in Kanawha City just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, found the baby, and then found Smith near the car.

Police said Smith had slit his throat and was taken to the hospital.

The mother was questioned by police, who confirmed the baby and Smith lived at the home on Venable Avenue.

Police said there were other children living in the home as well. All have been taken somewhere safe.

“They seem to be amazing parents, very loving parents,” neighbor Senaia Harris said. “They are constantly watching their kids. It's very devastating to see something like this happen to such a great family."

And until all the details emerge, neighbors are left to wonder exactly what happened as they keep the family in their thoughts.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Katy Brown, Jeff Morris) -- Charleston police, fire and ambulance units were at the scene Wednesday in Kanawha City where a baby was found dead in a car seat and where a father apparently slit his own throat.

The incident reportedly happened on Venable Avenue. Police said the father is still alive after slitting his throat.

Several streets are closed while emergency crews deal with the situation. The following streets are closed -- 37th Street to 39th Street and 38th Street back to Washington Avenue.

Metro 911 indicated that the father had reported the baby had hit his head sometime Tuesday night and was now dead in the car seat.

West Virginia State Police and Charleston police are also looking into a second crime scene in Putnam County. Police said the two scenes are connected.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Jeff Morris, Mamie Buoy, Katy Brown) -- Charleston police said an infant was found dead in Kanawha City, and the father tried to slit his own throat.

Metro 911 said the baby was found dead in a car seat on Venable Avenue. An emergency dispatcher said the father reported that the baby hit his head sometime during the night and was now dead in the car seat.

Police said the father did not die from his injuries. Emergency crews are at the scene where the incident occurred.

Eyewitness News has a crew at the scene and will provide more information online as it becomes available. Watch Eyewitness News at 5 and 6 for the latest updates.

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