May this sweet, beautiful baby rest in peace 😭💝
Emmaleigh Barringer, who authorities said was found bloody, swollen and naked on the floor of her family’s West Virginia basement on Monday, was pronounced dead Wednesday, Jackson County Sheriff Tony Boggs confirmed to The Huffington Post.
“It’s the most severe case that I’ve seen, especially with the age of the victim, and you just can’t fathom this,” Boggs previously told WCHS-TV. “Even though an arrest has been made, we are far from being over.”
Benjamin Taylor, 32, was arrested Monday and charged with first-degree sexual assault. He was charged with murder Thursday, Boggs said.
Boggs told Metro News that Taylor was the mother’s live-in boyfriend. Taylor was found with the battered baby in the basement of his girlfriend’s home Monday, authorities said.
The child’s mother called police after finding her daughter unresponsive. She said the basement’s lights had been turned off and there was a significant amount of blood on and around her baby.
Taylor denied having any knowledge of what may have happened to Emmaleigh. He said he took the baby downstairs to do laundry and “blacked out” at some point, WSAZ reported.
Boggs told HuffPost the county’s law enforcement officers knew of Taylor, but not for anything as severe as this.
A cousin of Emmaleigh’s mother said that by all appearances, Taylor was extremely caring.
“You literally would have thought he was a Prince Charming, she was so lit up inside,” Danielle Adkins told WSAZ. “He wanted to do things with her and he hung out with the kids.”
“The only way justice is going to be served is if he feels every ounce of pain that he caused her too,” Adkins added.
A GoFundMe account that was initially launched by the family to help pay for the baby’s medical needs is now also raising funds to pay for her funeral. (Some reports have identified Emmaleigh as 9 months old. The GoFundMe page says the baby was 10 months.)
The district attorney’s office declined comment when reached by HuffPost on Thursday. The victim’s family did not immediately return a request for comment.
Taylor’s bond has been set at $2 million.