Texas man wrestled and gripped infant’s head ‘in a football hold’ prior to his death, affidavit says

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EL PASO, Tex. (KTSM) — Marvin Rex Lake gripped a 1-year-old infant like a football, wrestled with the baby and dropped him on the frame of a futon, causing fatal injuries, according to a police affidavit.

Lake, 24, was arrested on Monday in connection to the death of Ahren DeHart, a 1-year-old child who the El Paso County Medical Examiner’s Office says died of intentional trauma/homicide.

Lake was taking care of DeHart, along with two other children, on April 12 at a West Side residence. DeHart was taken to El Paso Children’s Hospital on April 13, where he was in critical condition and then placed on life support. The infant died of his injuries on Friday.

An investigator with the El Paso Police Department says Lake drove himself to the police headquarters in Central El Paso and initially denied causing the infant’s injuries. Police pressed Lake with images of the injuries to the infant, but he continued to say he did not know how the injuries occurred, according to the affidavit.

Lake began to change his story, the document reads. He said he performed several wrestling-style moves with the child and, at one point, the child slipped from his hand and struck the frame of a futon in the residence.

He also told police he grabbed the child like a football after getting upset and being unable to control his anger. Police and Lake took a break during the interview shortly after.

He called a witness and put her on speaker, telling her he did not cause DeHart’s head injuries, but was responsible for his internal injuries.

Lake was arrested Monday and booked into the El Paso County Detention Facility on a capital murder charge. A bond hearing will be held for him at 8:30 a.m. on Wednesday.

Lake is a former military member who was discharged from service more than a year ago.

Last-minute child care option

Lake watched over DeHart and two other young children on April 12 while their mothers went to work, the document states. Extended family told KTSM it was the first time that Lake watched DeHart and that he was a friend of the infant’s parents.

DeHart’s regular babysitter had called out sick and Lake was a last-minute child care option, the family added.

He’d conducted two video calls on April 12 with a listed witness in the case. In the first call at 2 p.m., DeHart seemed to be in good health, the affidavit states. He was crying and fussy, it added.

But in a second video call at 10:50 p.m., Lake said DeHart was vomiting a red substance and wasn’t sure if it was blood. He had also “rag-dolled,” the affidavit states.

The witness and DeHart’s mother went back to the residence where they found the infant unresponsive and not breathing properly. The two called 911 and the baby was transported to the El Paso Children’s Hospital.

At the hospital, doctor’s disclosed the child had suffered several acute injuries, including brain damage. The injuries also included skull fractures, lung hemorrhaging, suspected abdominal injuries and bruises on the infant’s chin and lower body.

El Paso police say the two other children were also found with injuries and their conditions are being investigated.

Futon reimbursement

Lake returned to the police headquarters on April 15, wanting to speak with the investigator on the case. They had a discussion in the lobby of the building.

“The defendant (Lake) was seeking reimbursement for damages to the futon,” the affidavit reads.

Police told Lake the futon was photographed and the frame was exposed due to his statement that the baby had hit the frame during wrestling moves.

“I did not hurt his head, I only caused the internal injuries,” Lake replied.

GoFundMe fundraiser has been started to help the family pay for funeral costs. DeHart’s father is a soldier stationed at Fort Bliss and his mother is a health care worker at a local hospital. Their child had just turned 1 year old in March.

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