BATON ROUGE – A man was arrested Thursday after staff at a Baton Rouge hospital found signs of abuse all over his dead child’s body.
According to the Baton Rouge Police Department, the 5-year-old girl was rushed to Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital Wednesday afternoon after her father, Aaron Hawkins, reported she was unresponsive at their home off River Road. Hawkins, 23, told police that his daughter, Summer Hawkins, had been hurt in a fall.
The child was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after she arrived. Upon further examination, hospital staff found severe bruising and other marks on the girl’s body that appeared to be “criminally abusive” in nature.
A witness later told investigators that Hawkins was known to strike his daughter with a belt and that someone had to intervene sometime in the past week due to his “excessive” discipline.
Thursday afternoon, the coroner’s office said Summer died from multiple blunt force injuries and labeled her death a homicide.
Hawkins was initially jailed for cruelty to juveniles, but police upgraded his charge to first-degree murder in wake of the coroner’s report.