Phone records lead to Pennsylvania father charged in rape, death of 10-month-old daughter

Austin Stevens is accused of raping his infant daughter, who was pronounced dead soon after...
Austin Stevens is accused of raping his infant daughter, who was pronounced dead soon after police discovered her unresponsive body.(Montgomery County District Attorney's Office/Facebook)
Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 9:28 AM PDT
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LOWER PROVIDENCE TOWNSHIP, Pa. (Gray News) - Police in Pennsylvania have charged the father of an infant child in her sexual assault and death after investigators said they discovered several Google searches on his phone.

Lower Providence Township police arrested 29-year-old Austin Stevens after they responded to his home when he called about the unresponsive child, 10-month-old Zara Scruggs, Saturday night.

When police arrived, they performed CPR on the child and transported her to the hospital. She was pronounced dead early Sunday morning.

Detectives obtained a search warrant for Stevens' phone records following the child’s death. They found several Google searches related to the child’s death including “If baby stop breathing,” “My baby isn’t breathing,” and “What if you don’t hear baby heart or beat.”

Investigators also found a diaper worn by Scruggs which was saturated with blood.

A forensic pathologist conducted an autopsy on the child and discovered the child was a victim of a sexual assault. She also sustained blunt force trauma to the head.

“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,” Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin R. Steele said.

Stevens is charged with involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, rape of a child, aggravated assault, aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child and other charges. He remains in jail on a $1 million bond.

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