- Austin Stevens, 29, charged with aggravated sexual assault for raping his baby daughter, who later died of her injuries.
- An hour before calling the police, the father searched “How do you know if a baby is dead” on Google.
- Stevens is now being held at the county jail on $1million bail.
On Tuesday, Austin Stevens, of Providence Township, was charged with aggravated sexual assault for raping his 10-month-old daughter Zara Scruggs, Daily Mail reports. Stevens also received charges of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and other criminal counts.
Tragically, little Zara died from her injuries at the Einstein Medical Center in Montgomery County.
Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office released a statement explaining that at around 10:40 pm on Saturday, local police responded to a report of an unresponsive child. When officers arrived at the home in the 3400 block of Germantown Road, they immediately rushed the child to the hospital. Less than two hours later, the baby was pronounced dead.
The police investigation on the case later revealed that about an hour before calling 911, the father had conducted multiple disturbing Google searches.
Moments before calling the police, Stevens searched “My baby isn’t breathing” and “How do you know if a baby is dead” on Google.
Other distressing web searches the girl’s father looked through were: “What if you don’t hear baby heart or beat” and “If baby stops breathing.” It was further revealed that the 29-year-old allegedly flirted with two women on Instagram, without telling them about his daughter.
Horrifically, when officers searched the apartment, they found the diaper baby Zara was wearing at the time of the assault. The press release from the DA’s office said it was “saturated in blood.”
The autopsy determined that the baby sustained anal rectal trauma and blunt force trauma to the head.
Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele stated:
“This case is deeply disturbing. It is hard to imagine this child’s death being any more traumatic: sexual assault on an infant, followed by inaction by the father to save her life, led to her death.”
The father who raped his baby is being held at the county jail on $1million bail, pending a preliminary hearing set for October 13.
As ABC6 reports, Stevens, who had a joint custody agreement with Zara’s mother, is the co-owner of a construction company. He also served as an assistant coach for the Lower Providence Warriors youth football team.
@MontcopaDA says 29 year old Austin Stevens raped and assaulted his 10 month old daughter over the weekend. Court records reveal when she stopped breathing, he googled “how do you know if a baby is dead” before calling 911 an hour later @6abc pic.twitter.com/7QhACAFKLU
— Christie Ileto (@Christie_Ileto) October 6, 2020
In a heart-tearing social media post, Erica Scruggs, the baby’s mother, wrote:
“I’m not okay. I really have no words … He will pay.”
Brionna Cassaundra Wise, a family member, has launched a GoFundMe page to help Erica in these distressing times. By October 8, they have raised over $35,000, which is $10,000 more than their initial goal. Brionna wrote in the page’s description:
“On October 4th, 2020, our beautiful Zara Lynn Scruggs was taken from us by a monster. She deserved to grow up. She deserved to be with her family. She deserved all the amazing things in this world.
As you can imagine, her mother is grieving. We want to ensure that she is comfortable during this time and does not have to worry about any financial burdens associated with losing her child.”
The relative also shares that baby Zara was smart, silly, sassy, and brought beauty and joy into hundreds of lives.