Investigators said bruises on the baby's body tell a story of abuse, a story that came to light after doctors tried to save the infant's life.
It all started at the mother's apartment in Sanford Thursday afternoon. Neighbors watched helplessly as paramedics tried to revive the 9-month-old girl after she had stopped breathing.
"There was a lot of emotion and people crying and heartbroken that something like this would happen in this community," neighbor Edmond Chatman said.
The baby was taken to Central Carolina Hospital, where she died.
Doctors discovered bruises on the baby's body. The medical examiner's office said the official cause of death was a blunt force trauma to the head.
Sanford police believe the mother's boyfriend, 22-year-old Daniel Lindsey, killed the girl. He was charged with first-degree murder and placed in the Lee County Jail without bond.
The girl's mother, 27-year-old Christine Beattie, was charged with felony child abuse and jailed on a $500,000 bond.
Police said Lindsey is not the baby's father. Neighbors said Lindsey moved in three weeks ago.
Chatman said he babysat the little girl the day before she died.
"She was fine," he said. "I played with her. She was laughing and giggling, and she was a happy child. It's sad to know she's not here anymore."
Copyright 2024 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.