Beaver County man accused of shaking infant daughter to death
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A New Brighton man is being held in the Beaver County Jail on charges that he shook his two-month-old daughter hard enough to cause bleeding on her brain, which led to her death.
The Allegheny County medical examiner's office said Melanie Alexander was pronounced brain dead at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC at 8:41 a.m. Thursday and taken off life support late that night or early this morning.
New Brighton police said they plan to file homicide charges against her father, Robert Heibert, 28, if the results of an autopsy support the charges.
The medical examiner's office expects an autopsy to be performed later today.
Medics were called to the family's house on Fifth Avenue about 9:30 p.m. on Tuesday, when Melanie had no heart beat. Mr. Heibert initially told police he placed his daughter on the couch and returned to find her unresponsive and with blue lips.
He later admitted to shaking her four times in the past week, each with enough force that her head bounced off her chest like "whiplash," according to a criminal complaint.
Police wrote in the complaint that Mr. Heibert said he spent 15 to 30 minutes researching CPR on Ask.com before calling 911.
He delayed because he "was afraid that Jessica [the girl's mother] would be upset with him," police wrote.
A doctor at Children's Hospital told police Melanie had a subdural hematoma that was consistent with shaken baby syndrome, police said.
Mr. Heibert already faces charges of aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person and endangering the welfare of a child. He was being held on $50,000 bail, according to online court records.
First Published July 26, 2012 11:05 pm