West Valley man arrested for 2016 homicide of 18-month-old child

May 17, 2019, 1:26 PM
Austin Parker (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)...
Austin Parker (Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)
(Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Photo)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix-area man was arrested this week in connection to the 2016 death of an 18-month-old girl in his care, authorities said.

Austin Parker, 24, of Surprise, was booked Wednesday on one count of first-degree murder, three counts of child abuse and one count of sexual conduct with a minor, according to court documents.

Paramedics went to an apartment near Northern and 67th avenues in Glendale after Parker called 911 call about an injured child.

The girl, who was found unresponsive, was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital.

Investigators determined that Parker was the child’s sole caregiver at the time of the incident. The documents didn’t indicate his relationship to the girl.

The victim had bruises in various stages of healing around her head as well as abdominal bruising indicating fresh blunt force trauma. There were also physical signs of sexual abuse.

Parker attributed some of the injuries to accidental falls and denied sexually abusing the girl.

But police said he admitted getting frustrated and yelling at her, squeezing her and accidentally elbowing her in the abdomen.

Medical experts determined that the injuries were too extensive to have been caused accidentally.

They also found that the child’s life might have been saved if she’d received medical attention sooner.

Bond for Parker was set at $1 million, and his preliminary hearing was scheduled for May 24.

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West Valley man arrested for 2016 homicide of 18-month-old child