BRISTOL, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man was charged with murder, accused of fatally slashing his 1-year-old niece in her abdomen while babysitting, police said.
Authorities in Bristol responded to a 911 call about an injured baby shortly before 7:30 p.m. Monday. When they arrived at the home, officers encountered a person running toward them carrying a child with a severe laceration to her mid-section.
Police officers gave the girl, Zaniyah Calloway, medical attention before paramedics brought her to Bristol Hospital. She was later flown to Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, where she died, officials said.
Arthur Hapgood, 36, of Waterbury, came out of the house without clothes, and he was taken into custody without incident, authorities said.
Police said an 11-year-old child also was in the home at the time but wasn’t harmed.
Hapgood was brought to Bristol Hospital to be treated for undisclosed injuries. Bristol officers later charged him with murder with special circumstances, reckless endangerment and risk of injury to a minor.
The motive for the slashing remained unclear Tuesday. Police said Hapgood invoked his 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination and refused to talk with them.
A Bristol Superior Court judge set Hapgood’s bail at $2.5 million during his arraignment Tuesday. Hapgood’s public defender declined to comment.
During the brief court appearance, a man who said he was Zaniyah’s uncle shouted at Hapgood, asking him why he killed the girl and demanding that Hapgood look at him.
“I just want justice,” said the man, Juan Negro. “Why would you do this to a baby girl?”
State court records show Hapgood has drug-selling convictions. In 2008, he was sentenced to four years in prison on drug charges, and he currently is on probation.