St. Paul man charged with killing 4-week-old child

A St. Paul man has been charged with murdering his 4-week-old infant.

Orancy Chea, 23, is charged with one count of second-degree murder.

According to a criminal complaint, medics were called to an apartment near White Bear Avenue and Stillwater Avenue at about 11 a.m. on April 23.

The 911 caller indicated that a 4-week-old was unconscious and had a fever of 103. The child was taken to a hospital and later pronounced dead. An autopsy showed the baby had a lacerated liver, lung contusion, old and newly broken ribs, a skull fracture, brain bleed, internal bleeding and bruises to the head, and the death was ruled a homicide.

The complaint states that a neighbor told officers they heard sounds of pounding and a baby crying from Chea's apartment a day earlier and weren't aware a baby lived there. The crying lasted for 10 to 15 minutes and there were three to four cycles of pounding lasting a minute, which sounded like someone hitting a wall, the neighbor said.

Officers detained Chea and the baby's mother. Chea told police the child had been crying and seemed bothered the past few days, and also had a high temperature near 104 to 105 degrees. After calling a hospital, they were advised to bring the child in to be seen but decided to wait. Chea said the child then appeared to have a seizure on the night of April 22.

The complaint states Chea told police he put the child in its crib the next morning and then went to check on another child they were caring for. When he came back, the child wasn't breathing.

It adds that when police told Chea the child had significant injuries and asked if he caused them he replied, "Not that I know of." When pressed by officers and told of the severity of injuries the child had, the complaint states Chea put his head down and said, "What you said was right." When asked if he lost his temper he then nodded and began to cry.

The complaint states officers asked him a series of yes or no questions during which time he admitted to causing the injuries, saying it was an accident but nobody else was responsible. Chea allegedly told officers the child was crying and he threw the baby down on its back when he got mad. He added that he didn't want to hurt the child.

Chea's preliminary bail was set at $1 million. His first court appearance was set for Monday.