A young child has died, and police are working to figure out why. It comes after a troubling series of events involving the mother's boyfriend.
Officials were called about 8 a.m. to a home on Brookside Drive after a man showed up, saying he fell on the 18-month-old girl and something was wrong. The baby's aunt, who lives at the home, then called for an ambulance and performed CPR, but by the time crews arrived the baby had already died.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Dickson police are trying to determine how baby Samara Smith died.
The baby's aunt said Samara was blue and not breathing when the boyfriend of the child's mother brought the little girl to the home.
Now, that man - Edward Benesch - is charged with reckless homicide and child abuse. He was jailed late Thursday afternoon in Dickson County on $75,000 bond.
There is talk that family friends, including the child's babysitter, have suspected abuse for a while now.
"I'd noticed that there were a lot of bruises on the side of Samara's face, and I took pictures. I was concerned. She's a child, and she's not just going to fall and get those bruises on her face. That was from a hand. That was from being hit," said family friend Nina Overton.
Another family friend said the child's biological father had been trying to contact the Department of Children's Services from jail where he was serving an unrelated sentence, but he was unable to reach anyone.
While Channel 4 News has not confirmed whether DCS had previously investigated the situation, a DCS official said the department is now investigating and has made contact with all of the child's siblings who are safe.
The medical examiner's office will conduct an autopsy on the baby to determine how she died.
Copyright 2013 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.
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