A California father charged with murdering his 19-day old daughter is now also accused of sexually abusing her.
Matthew Brendan Warner was arrested on Saturday morning after police discovered the body of his baby in the cab of a pickup truck in Newhall, Southern California, after he had initially reported her missing.
The 30-year-old was already facing charges of murder, assault on a child causing death and torture, but yesterday prosecutors also charged him with committing a series of sexual offences on Ellorah Rose Warner.
Matthew Warner was arrested on Saturday and charged with murdering his 19-day-old daughter but yesterday prosecutors also accused him of sexually abusing her
Outside court, family members on both sides of the baby’s family took different sides over the case.
‘No! It’s not even conceivable. Not him,’ Victoria Law-Thomson, Warner’s mother, told NBC Los Angeles.
Nan Allison, Warner’s mother-in-law, made no attempt to defend him, saying: ‘The idea that a 3-week-old child should have to worry about defending herself against her 30-year-old father is abhorrent to me.’
Warner and his wife reported Ellorah missing from their home in Newhall last Friday. About 12 hours later police said they arrested Warner after he led them to his daughter’s body.
Ms Allison said her unemployed son-in-law had made a choice ‘to get high’.
Nan Allison, Warner’s mother-in-law, made no attempt to defend him, saying: ‘The idea that a 3-week-old child should have to worry about defending herself against her 30-year-old father is abhorrent to me’
Warner was said to have later led police to a pickup truck where Ellorah was found inside the cab
She said Warner was already on probation for drugs charges and was a danger to his daughter.
However, Ms Law-Thomson said she thought her son was clean and sober and hoped that her granddaughter had died as the result of an accident.
After prosecutors added the sexual assault charges, Warner’s bail was increased to more than $2 million. He faces a maximum penalty of life in state prison if convicted of all charges.
Police initially searched the parent’s home before locating the child in the truck. Authorities have not said who owns the vehicle.
Warner’s mother Victoria Law-Thomson said she thought her son as clean and sober and hoped that her granddaughter died as the result of an accident
Warner posted a picture of him holding the child on Facebook just two days before she wound up dead.
A Facebook page believed to belong to his wife and the girl’s mother shows a sonogram as her profile picture.
When officials were still searching for the infant, they said she was last seen wearing ‘Sesame Street’ diapers and a blue and pink beanie.