Man charged in 2016 death of disabled 19-month-old girl

COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah (ABC4 News) - Police have arrested a man suspected in the death of his girlfriend's 19-month-old disabled daughter in Cottonwood Heights last year. 

Jake Don Jensen, 29, was arrested and has been booked into the Salt Lake County Jail on Monday on charges of felony child abuse and felony child abuse homicide stemming from the death of his girlfriend's daughter, who had cerebral palsey, in January 2016. 

Police say Jensen was with the baby, who is not his biological daughter, on January 2 when emergency crews were called to the home on an apparent seizure. Jensen said the baby had screamed out and was grabbing her ear and as he picked her up the baby's hands and jaw became clenched and her eyes rolled back into he head. Jensen's mother then called 911. 

By the time crews responded, the seizure had passed and the baby's vitals had returned to normal. The baby was not transported to the hospital but EMS told the baby's mother to take her to a pediatrician immediately, police later found out she did not seek out further medical advice by a doctor. 

Two days later, while the baby's mother was at work, Jensen told police that he went to give the baby a bottle and her legs and arms went stiff and began to make gurgling sounds. In a different interview he told police he found the baby non-responsive and having a seizure. The baby's mother arrived home at the same time the baby was having the seizure. 

In the early morning hours of January 5, paramedics were called back to the home and immediately recognized the baby was in extreme distress. She was transported to Primary Children's Hospital but never regaining consciousness. 

At the hospital the baby's condition continued to decline. She had suffered non-survivable brain damage due to lack of oxygen to her brain. Additional testing revealed the baby had fresh subdural hemorrhages overlying her brain and retinal hemorrhages. The baby was removed from life support the night of January 5.

It was later discovered the baby had a healing fracture of her left leg and another untreated injury to her right leg that had never been reported or treated. 

Child Protective Services agreed with doctors that the injuries were not caused by the baby falling or injuring herself as she was not yet able to walk. Doctors explained that there was a very severe injury to her brain on January 5 which lead to her sudden decline and death. 

Jensen is being charged as he was the baby's caregiver at the time of both incidents and his accounts did not include any sufficient explanation for any of the hemorrhages or injuries to the baby's legs. The medical examiner ruled the baby's death as a homicide. 

Jensen is currently being held without bond in the Salt Lake County Jail.

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