Prosecutors in Los Angeles charged a father with sexually abusing his 19-day-old daughter and murdering her.
According to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office, Newhall resident Matthew Brendan Warner, 30, stands accused of a heinous series of crimes committed against his infant daughter, Ellorah Rose. Via ABC 7:
[Warner] faces one count each of murder, assault on a child causing death, torture, oral copulation or sexual penetration with a child 10 years old or younger and aggravated sexual assault of a child, Deputy District Attorney Julie Kramer said in a news release.
According to police, Warner came to the the Santa Clarita Valley police station accompanied by Ellorah's mother (his girlfriend) Tawni Wallace to report their daughter missing on Friday night. The report prompted an extensive search from the LA County Sheriff's Department:
Deputies from multiple sheriff's stations and search dogs combed the area in an all-out search. "Deputies acted on that, got detectives involved and they searched throughout the night. They searched the hills. They searched everywhere around, tried to contact as many people as possible," said Lt. Holly Francisco of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Police were investigating the missing child report when Ellorah's body was found inside a pickup truck in a parking lot, near the family's residence.
Details of what led police to identify Warner as a suspect are limited; however, ABC 7 reports that neighbors told the child's maternal grandmother, Nan Allison, they witnessed him leaving the apartment complex carrying a bundle. Allison said Warner then told Wallace their baby was missing. According to the criminal complaint, "revenge" is listed as a motive in Warner's alleged crimes. The coroner has not determined an official cause of death yet.
Warner's mother, Victoria Law-Thomson says obviously something went terribly wrong. She says even though her son had a history of drug addiction she does not believe he would have done anything to harm his infant daughter.
"No, it's not even conceivable. Not him. I would not call it murder if it's an accident. I don't know what happened. I am waiting to hear that it might have been natural causes," Law-Thomson said.
Wallace is not being charged with any crime. According to police, she is "distraught" but cooperating with detectives. Her mother spoke to ABC7, telling them her daughter is "inconsolable."
"I am not going to address that it was behind closed doors. I have my opinions but I am not going to say anything about that," Allison told ABC 7. "I hope for the rest of his life he is burdened by what he's done."
Warner's bail was set at $2.25 million; if convicted he faces life in prison. His next court date is Feb. 18.
A candlelight vigil in Ellorah's memory was scheduled for Tuesday evening in Newhall.
Screencap via ABC 7.