NEWBERRY COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – An Upstate father is facing charges after his baby girl was found dead in a car early Monday morning in Newberry County.
The Newberry County Sheriff’s Office said 911 communications received a call shortly after midnight Sunday about a domestic issue in the Prosperity area.
While responding, deputies learned that the biological father of a six-month-old had been allowed to take the child to his home in the Greenville-Spartanburg area.
Deputies said sometime after leaving, the biological father called and began to berate the mother and made threats to harm the child.
According to Sheriff Foster, the child’s father told the mother he would give the baby back to her if she met him at a motel.
Deputies began searching motels near SC-34.
A deputy spotted the Prius at a convenience store at 2 a.m. near the Days Inn.
The deputy saw the described suspect in the driver’s seat and an unrestrained baby in a car seat.
Arriving deputies noticed the baby girl was unresponsive and other deputies arrested Collie Dawkins, of Lyman.
The baby girl was taken to the hospital where life-saving methods were attempted, the sheriff’s office said.
“It doesn’t make any sense at all,” said Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster. “Mad at the mother? What does a six-month-old child have to do with it? Nothing.”
The sheriff said there were no signs of physical injury to the child.
“All indications are he did something to cause the death of this child,” explained Foster. “Certainly once we get that information, we’re going to make sure he’s held accountable for that.”
Dawkins was charged with unlawful conduct to a child and violation of a habitual offender act and is currently being held in the Newberry County Detention Center. Further charges are pending.
Sheriff Foster said deputies are investigating what led Dawkins to become angry and make threats.
“When somebody does this nonsense and causes this havoc in a community, they don’t realize how many people they reach out and touch,” said Foster. “The mother will certainly never be the same again. Those of us who responded to the crime scene, those of us who responded to the hospital, and the emergency department staff who worked so hard to save the child’s life, I’d say they’re marked as well.”
The Newberry County Coroner told 7NEWS a cause and manner of death has not been determined.
The investigation is ongoing by the New County Sheriff’s Office and the Newberry County Coroner’s Office. The SLED Child Fatality Unit has also been called to assist in the investigation.